Class 2 Soccer – Can St Dominic Repeat? Updated

The St Dominic Crusaders have won the Missouri Class 2 High School soccer title the past two years, ending Visitation Academy’s two year run in 2012 with an 8-1 shellacking in the Quarterfinal against the Vivette’s (photos) before going on to defeat Helias and Rosati-Kain for the title.

Last year it was Incarnate Word who needed PK’s to get past Visitation in Sectionals before falling to St Dominic (photos) after an extended rain delay in the Quarterfinals, when the Crusaders came out and scored two for the final 3-1 margin. Wins against Kearney and then Helias in the Final brought the second trophy to the O’Fallon based school.

The path to the Final 4 involves Districts 5-8. Here is my preview. UPDATED 🙂

Katie Kienstra celebrates her game-winner

Katie Kienstra celebrates her game-winner

District 5 – #1 MICDS faces #2 Incarnate Word
REPORT – IWA wins 1-0 on a goal by senior Katie Kienstra (Arkansas) in the 76th minute. Freshman Riley Hayes run down the left allowed her to reach the endline leading to a shot on goal that was knocked down by the GK, falling to Kienstra who fought off a physical challenge to poke the ball home. Senior Andrea Brown with the shutout.

The Red Knights play today was their best of the season, with Kelsey Murphy moving back into the center of the pitch and setting the tone. The team stayed compact and moved as a unit and showed that they valued the District title streak.

PREVIEW – A rematch of last seasons final, won 2-0 by the Red Knights in what I consider Makayla Hussong’s coming-out-party. The freshman GK took over in the semifinal game against Ladue when junior Andrea Brown went down with an ACL injury. Her work against MICDS helped IWA maintain a clean sheet and that’s what she was doing again on Tuesday this week when she got the start against Ladue, a 4-0 win that was a direct result of a pair of great saves that set the tone and kept the Rams from gaining any momentum in the game.

Looking at my report of last years game there are some common elements – Kienstra continues to offer a significant offensive element for IWA with her throw-ins, MICDS has great speed up top with Condie and Medelberg.

I see a lot of IWA as they are the closest MWAA White team to my Florissant home but following their 1-7 loss to Nerinx a month ago I made a conscious effort to find other games to cover. The team I saw beat Ladue on Tuesday was one worth seeking out. Ladue had a strong team this season that was technical, smart and played compactly generally. What they were unable to do was handle the speed and physical play of IWA or what I think many of was would say IS District soccer. The Red Knights also seem to have found the proper lineup at the right time.

The Red Knights offense is clicking with senior Tori Kruse pairing with freshman Riley Hayes. I’m guessing Hayes is 5’3″ maximum but she brings the attitude of a South American on the pitch, with no challenge too large. Kruse showed fine skill in scoring the game-winner 6 minutes into the match Tuesday on a pass from Kelsey Murphy that required a quality first touch and then a finish past an on-rushing GK that was evidence of the confidence she is playing with right now. The service being offered by Murphy on the left and Kienstra on the left, restored to their natural positions now after some experimenting earlier this year, is key.

The other notable change is the move of Mo Rooney to defensive midfield which added some bite to the Red Knights. That puts freshman Gabby Krimmel at Sweeper with sophomore Logan Heacock in front of her, significant responsibility that will be tested by the MICDS attack this afternoon.

The Rams have confounded themselves and many observers the past two years. The tools are there. Caroline Militello is back from injury and looked unaffected against Ladue, shrugging off challenges and finding teammates consistently. Klasey Medelberg roamed the midfield with her, using her speed to add to the attack that was led by Condie along with Mary Sant and Courtney Trowbridge. The defense is anchored by Taylor Baur with Amber Jones in front of her. Freshman Carolyn Botz has performed well behind that defense.

Result? Hard to call given the resurgence IWA has. Fueled in part by the knowledge that no previous team has lost a District title game they are positioned to continue that streak. MICDS has the senior leadership and experience they need to know what it means to battle IWA in a title match. Individual performances often key the final result. I’m guessing Medelberg, Militello and their teammates break the streak today.

PHOTO GALLERIES – MICDS vs IWA in 2013 District Final, vs Ladue & Clayton in 2014

District 6 – #1 Visitation faces #3 Parkway West
REPORT – An entertaining game as the upstart Longhorns come out to ‘defend their house’ as I heard in the pre-game chatter. They did that by making a commitment to win every 50/50 ball and stay compact, in a 4-5-1 system, in an attempt to deny Visitation’s many weapons. From the team I saw lose in PK’s in March at Ladue to this evening, the intelligent work on display made this scribe want to cheer. A team effort, it’s the seniors that get the final salute – Gabby Rath, Alysa Manwill, Addy Tabrizi, and Rachel Brown.

It was not enough unfortunately because of those many weapons alluded to earlier. The game-winner was scored by senior Sarah Price in the 35th. It started on the right side, where Caroline Catalin and Hannah Brobst were working well the whole evening. Brobst run into the right corner was followed by her cross that reached the far post where freshman Kayleigh Stahlschmidt was waiting. Her header went off the crossbar but fell in Price’s path at the far post and Price ran the ball into the back of the net.

The Vivette’s, who deservedly believe the State title is in their reach again, extended their lead 35 seconds into the second half. Stahlschmidt was given a ball that allowed her to turn and take on a lone defender, an uncommon site on the evening. Her left-footed shot from approximately 15 yards went in off the GK’s hands, just inside the left upright. Abby O’Keefe, who was denied midway through the first half when her chip shot from 20 yards (not unlike her game-winner against Webster earlier in the year) went off the crossbar scored in the 61st for the final margin. She got on the end of a Liz Hopkins pass on a set piece just outside the 18 yard box. The West defense anticipated a direct shot on goal but a pass toward the left upright was finished by O’Keefe who slipped it between the defender and the upright.

Viz will face Incarnate Word on Tuesday in the Sectional game. At Visitation Academy I understand.

PREVIEW – A game between the Haves (Visitation) and the Have-Nots (Parkway West) as the Longhorns face the formidable task of capturing their first District title against a team that has seniors Abbie Grimes and Sarah Price with multiple state titles to their credit.

Parkway West has had a wonderful run to finish the season, with wins over Rockwood Summit and Duchesne this month instilling the confidence needed to overcome adversity. With Alysa Manwill and Alexa Riley acting as the engines in the midfield, they’ve found offense from sophomore Ally Guccione and freshman Natalie Rath. It’s also a team that has embraced the team concept with substitutions coming every 10 minutes across the front six in particular. Sophomore Maddie Rose has led the defense from the sweeper position and Jordan Beveridge is in goal.

The greatest difficulty Parkway West will face is maintaining a compact shape. Viz has the tools to go far and is the favorite to face St Dominic in the Quarterfinal. For the Longhorns to overcome the challenge, they can’t get stretched out.

I’ll be on hand for the District 5 and District 6 games. We’ll see soon enough. Time to hit the road!

District 7 – #1 St Dominic faces #2 Ft Zumwalt East
REPORT – Crusaders win 2-0. Maddy Bauer with the first in only the third minute, from Mackenzie Rief cross. Rief scored as well, just before the half, unassisted.

PREVIEW – The FZE Lions come into tonights match with a 4-19-1 record. It’s indicative of the challenge they set themselves months before the season began, facing Class 3 District Finalists including Lafayette, Howell North, Parkway Central, St Joe, Ft Zumwalt West along with another fourteen games against Class 3 opponents. Two of the wins have come against St Charles West, including the opening game of Districts.

PHOTO ALBUM – Ft Zumwalt East at Parkway West

Tonight’s challenge will be too great I’m afraid.

District 8 – #1 Hannibal faces #2 Kirksville FRIDAY

PREVIEW – The Pirates earned the top-seed with a 16-6-1 record and yet another NCMC Conference title. It’s the third meeting this season between the two teams, with Hannibal winning 2-1 in late March and then 3-1 in late April. While not definitive, the other factor is the Hannibal has not been scored on in May. Five wins to close the regular season with a 29-0 goal advantage was followed by a 5-0 win to open Districts. Defense. Scoring. I’ve got the Pirates in this one. Watch for ALL-NCMC 1st team members Kaitlyn Edge, Abby Conn, Paige Utterback, Lauren Wheelan, and Bri Johnson

It will be the peak of their season. Against Helias, it was a 1-2 loss in mid-April and followed by 0-2-1 run at the Moberly tournament that included a 1-5 loss to Camdenton and 0-1 to Winfield. The pace that St Dominic will play at will be too great a challenge in the Sectional.

By the way, congratulations to Kaitlyn Edge who set the Career record for wins in Goal for the Pirates this year

The Crusaders will advance to the Quarterfinals.