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Saxons end Crusaders title defense

South Salem scores once in the first half to end Jesuit's reign
by: Miles Vance FOCUSED — Jesuit’s Claire Wilson (left) and South Salem’s Whitney Pitalo get ready for a header.

BEAVERTON - Jesuit's girls soccer team had gone so far, had accomplished so much, had lifted expectations so high - it wasn't supposed to end like this.

The Metro League champion Crusaders saw their 2011 season come to a screeching halt on Saturday, coming up on the wrong end of a 1-0 decision to South Salem in the Class 6A state quarterfinals at Jesuit High School.

The loss snapped top-ranked Jesuit's six-game winning streak, ended the team's defense of its 2009 and 2010 state championships, and left it with a final season record of 14-2-1. South Salem, the Central Valley champ and eighth-ranked team in the state, improved to 15-2-0 and advanced to face Tualatin in Tuesday's semifinal.

'Sometimes that happens - you dominate and you can't get (the ball) in the net,' said Jesuit senior defender Michaela Phillips. 'But they worked really hard. You have to give them credit. They're a good team.'

'The girls played hard, but it was just one of those days when the ball didn't end up in the back of the net,' added Jesuit coach Steve Fennah. 'Give South Salem credit - they worked hard and did some things to limit our possession and keep us from having the kind of attack we normally would.'

Jesuit did a pretty good job of limiting South Salem's chances, too, but the Saxons broke through with the game-winning score with seven minutes remaining in the first half. There, South Salem's Katie Wasser took a shot from the left side, the ball was deflected in front of the goal and senior Anne Burnham kicked the ball off the crossbar and into the net for the day's lone score.

Still, with 47 minutes of soccer stilll to go, Jesuit knew it had plenty of time. And the Crusaders did indeed create some great chances in the remaining minutes, foremost among them a cross from Claire Wilson that Maddie Kincaid and Dani Brown just missed finishing with 25 minutes to go, and a Lexi Frye corner kick with 19 minutes remaining that Ellen Rall headed just high at the far post.

'Of course, I'm disappointed that we lost, but I'm just going to miss playing for Jesuit and the program in general,' Phillips added. 'It's such a great program. I had such a great time playing with my teammates and I learned a lot.'

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