Teams faced two key changes this season – returning from the loss of their 2020 season and the new classification system that utilizes a Success Factor in determining placement for private schools. For the Crusaders, Class 3 State Champions in 2019, it meant a move to Class 4 this year but they’ve handled that transition without a hiccup thus far with a 24-0 record going into tonight’s State Final against the Nerinx Hall Markers. The Markers reached the Class 4 Final in 2019 but lost to Liberty, with three players who moved on to join the SLU Billikens. Senior captains Mackenzie Duff and Sydney Smith return from that squad and are joined by five underclasswomen and four upperclasswomen who have helped establish the culture that returns them to the Final as well. St Dominic Crusaders Prepare To Defend State Title
PHOTO GALLERY St. Dominic Crusaders v Lee’s Summit West Titans
The Crusader’s opened strong, the way every coach preaches. Sr Logan Racine, on in place of injured Jessica Larson, scored in the 11th minute (video below) as she one-timed a ball from Grace Bindbeutel from her position near the endline. The play started when Jr Sophia Green alertly stepped into an attempted clearance and she sent a nice ball into Bindbeutel’s path down the right side. Gracie held off a strong physical challenge before crossing the ball just before reaching the endline. Racine timed her run well, meeting the ball at the front post as she touched it in (video below).
Jr Macie Begley scored in the 18th minute, also from Grace Bindbeutel. A simple square ball, moving the play from the right side to the left, but Begley took advantage of the space provided to strike the ball well from 28 yards out. As it dipped down, the keeper appeared to have a difficult time tracking the ball and it went in off her hands. Sr Gabby Hennessy made it 3-0 in the 25th minute when Jess Grayek sent a nice ball into the box from the right side. It reached the far post where Hennessy rose to head it past the keeper. That also led to a keeper change by Lee’s Summit West as Jr Sydney Handel moved from central defense into the goal.
LSW came back to score a pair of goals in the second half before Gabby Hennessy got her second of the day in the 74th minute. It came as Head Coach Greg Koeller had showed amazing patience and support of the team despite the Titan’s closing the gap to one. He did bring Hennesy back in late for her corner kick skills. It paid off immediately as she put a ball into the mix just outside the six yard box. It came back out and Jr Sophia Green picked it up near the end line and quickly found Hennessy along the touchline and 10 yards out. Her ball into the box finished in the far side netting as the keeper was unable to punch it out. Video available below.
The final 5-2 margin came in the 79th minute as Jr Gracie Bindbeutel scored from just inside the box on the right side.
LINEUP (from left to right)
GK: So Katy Fitzler
D: Sr Ashley Martinez, Sr Rylie Combs, Fr Samantha Roggenkamp
DM: Jr Macie Begley, So Addie Biehl (21 but listed as 9 in the published rosters)
M: Jr Sophia Green, Fr Kaleigh McPherson, Sr Gabby Hennessy
F: Sr Logan Racine, Jr Gracie Bindbeutel
A final comment on the Crusaders. I had a fun chat post-game with Head Coach Greg Koeller about the system the team uses. I noted that when I was earning my Missouri D License back in the early 80’s (taught by Bob Guelker and Ed Huneke), one of the first systems of play discussed was the W-M and I ‘accused’ him of being really old school. He had a ready answer for me and he discussed Pep Guardiola and the system of play at Barcelona going back to 2008. Four lines makes it very tough for teams to penetrate without the long ball and the pace the Crusaders have on the wings helps mitigate that. I’ll have to find a more detailed explanation but for now, enjoy this video in anticipation of the derby game we get tonight as St. Dominic and Nerinx Hall give their all.
Logan Racine scores the first goal
— MSHSAA-TV (@MshsaaTV) June 4, 2021
Gabbie Henessey scores her second, 4-2 SDHS
— MSHSAA-TV (@MshsaaTV) June 4, 2021
St Dominic Crusaders Prepare To Defend State Title