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Crusaders seal up Metro title, look for more ahead


Jesuit leads Beaverton just 1-0 at the half, but wins 5-1

BEAVERTON — For a very long time, there was very little that separated the Jesuit and Beaverton girls soccer teams last week.

The Metro League-leading Crusaders got an early goal in their game at Beaverton High School on Oct. 25, but got nothing else for the next 40 minutes. Awakened by the Beavers’ efforts, perhaps, Jesuit hit high gear in the second half, cranked out four more goals and ran away with a 5-1 victory.

by: MILES VANCE - LOOKING UP - Lexie Krueger of Jesuit and her team say they are ready for the state playoffs.

The win capped Jesuit’s league championship season with a 7-0-3 record (10-1-3 overall) and sent the Crusaders on to the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs. Jesuit will host Grants Pass at 2 p.m. Saturday; with a victory there, the Crusaders would play again in round two on Tuesday against the winner of the Sheldon/Central Catholic game.

“I think we’ll do pretty well in the playoffs,” said Jesuit senior forward Lexie Krueger, who scored her team’s first goal against Beaverton. “We for sure have the opportunity to win this year.”

“We’ve gone through a lot of adversity this year, and we’ve come together,” said Jesuit sophomore forward Maddie Kincaid, who scored her team’s second goal and set up its third when she was fouled and earned her team a penalty kick. “Now it’s just keeping up with it. I think more than the players on the field, it’s the attitude and the spirit that’s on the field.”

The Beavers, meanwhile, saw their Metro season end at 3-7-0 (6-7-2 overall) and sent the team on to a Class 6A Play-In game on Tuesday. There, Beaverton hammered McNary 7-0 and won a berth in the first round of the state playoffs, where they’ll play at Tigard, the Pacific Conference co-champion, at 5 p.m. Saturday.

“The Metro League has some of the hardest teams, so it’s a struggle and it’s hard, but hopefully, going into the playoffs, we can keep that intensity and just keep moving forward,” said Beaverton sophomore forward Inca Gunter, who scored her team’s lone goal against Jesuit.

“I think we just need to work on 50-50s and finishing the ball, which we’ve been working on,” added Beaverton freshman midfielder Sydney Boechler. “I think we’ll do well going on if we just work on those things.”

While the Crusaders’ offense wasn’t as prolific as they would have liked in the first half against Beaverton, they did get on the scoreboard 8 minutes, 36 seconds into the match when Krueger made a run up the right flank, then scored at the right post with 32:08 remaining in the first half.

Jesuit’s Molly Petrusich very nearly made it 2-0 when she just missed a short looping shot off an Aliyah Chance corner kick with seven minutes to go in the half. The Beavers’ best chance to score in the opening half came when Alyssa Christiansen barely missed a header to the left off a Kelly Priest corner kick with 1:50 left before the half.

The Crusaders pulled away quickly in the second half, though, with Kincaid taking a short through ball from Keara Vu and angling a shot into the Beaver goal at the right post just 8:36 into the second half. Then, 3:20 later, Kincaid was fouled in the Beaverton penalty box, won her team a penalty kick, and teammate Ari Hudson converted to the right corner to make it 3-0.

Jesuit’s Melisande Gavin extended the lead to 4-0 with 21 minutes remaining when she deflected a free kick into the Beaverton goal.

The Beavers’ lone goal came with 5:10 remaining when the Jesuit defense failed to clear the ball, Gunter took control in the middle of the penalty box, dribbled to her right and angled in a shot to make it 4-1.

Undeterred, Jesuit responded two minutes later with its final goal, with Lexy Frey heading home a Krueger corner kick.

“In the first half we came out maybe in not the right mindset, but second half we came out with a lot more spirit and worked a lot harder,” Kincaid said.

“Obviously, we came out in the second half harder and ... created a lot more chances,” Krueger said.

“It was definitely a challenge,” Gunter admitted. “A lot of it is their name, the mental challenge of it, but I think we played really well tonight. The score didn’t show it but I thought we played really well.”

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.