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Youthful Jesuit back in winners circle

Jesuit wins the Metro crown, while Beaverton sets the playoff table
by: Miles Vance ON THE BALL — Jesuit’s Molly Petrusich makes a header in her team’s 3-0 win over Beaverton on Oct. 27.

BEAVERTON - For Jesuit's girls soccer team, its 3-0 win over Beaverton on Oct. 27 marked the capstone in another league championship.

For the Beavers, while not a win, the game marked a step in the right direction as the team aims for playoff success.

The Crusaders, who got two goals from freshman Maddie Kincaid, saw their record improve to 8-1-1 in Metro League play (12-1-1 overall) and gave it a Metro championship for the sixth year in a row. Jesuit will now open the Class 6A state playoffs at home against Lake Oswego (2-6-2, 4-8-2), the sixth-place finisher from the Three Rivers League, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jesuit High School.

'We believed in our team. We knew we could do it,' explained Jesuit senior Lillie Pelletier. 'After our loss to Sunset, that was our wakeup call, and we picked it up after that.'

'I think we're ready to go. We know what we need to do to get there,' added Jesuit senior Ellen Rall. 'If we stay focused in training and practice, I think we can go all the way.'

Beaverton finished Metro play in fifth place at 2-6-2, but improved to 6-7-2 overall with a 4-0 win over Hillsboro in Tuesday's Class 6A Play-In game at Beaverton High School. The Beavers will now open the Class 6A state playoffs at Sheldon (2-1-2 in Special District 1 play, 9-2-2 overall) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

'We're excited' for the playoffs, said Beaverton senior defender Celia Alvarez. 'Our injuries have kind of gotten the best of us - we've gotten beaten up - but we are still keeping our heads high.'

'We're heading into playoffs and we've been dealing with (injuries) all season and they've dealt with it multiple times, and I'm so proud of them that they've kept up mentally,' added Beaverton coach Brittni Estep-Carmichael. 'This is kind of their payoff that 'We're still strong. We can still compete even though we've got good players out.''

Beaverton certainly competed against the Crusaders last week, playing Jesuit to a standstill in the first half until less than a minute remained before the break. But the Crusaders kept the pressure on and got what turned out to be the game-winner with 38 seconds left before the half. There, Kincaid collected a rebound near the right edge of the Beaverton penalty box and drove a hard shot home to provide a 1-0 lead.

While Beaverton's offense was held in check throughout the game, the Beavers did get a couple solid chances in the second half, the best of those a volley by Lauren Wallberg that missed just left after a throw-in from the sideline with 13 minutes left to play.

The Crusaders tacked on two goals in the final 40 minutes, the first of those a Kincaid header at the near post following sophomore Dani Brown's corner kick with 31:33 left to play. Jesuit's final goal came with 8:13 to play when junior Lexie Krueger took the ball up the left side of the field, then crossed it to Maddy Gram in the center of the field for the score.

'We had our goals set and now we get to cross this one off our list,' Kincaid said. 'This was one we really wanted and I think we all worked really hard tonight and we're pleased with how we played. There's nothing better than being the only champions of the Metro League.'

'I think the momentum we had going into the second half really pushed us, Pelletier said. Coach Steve Fennah 'gave us a good speech at halftime about how bad we wanted it and I think we fought really hard.'

Despite the final score, the Beavers thought they had played pretty well too.

'I thought that we did awesome that first half. We held 'em,' Alvarez said. In the 'second half, I still think we did good, but I think we just broke down a little bit,'

'They played so much more possession around us the first time, but this time, we stepped up and took angles away and tried to make opportunities for us,' Estep-Carmichael added.

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