Jesuit girls soccer train still firmly on the tracks
The scoring is down, but the dominance continues for Jesuit's girls soccer team.
The three-time reigning 6A champion Crusaders graduated much of their firepower in Callan Harrngton — who owns state records for goals in a career (133) and season (55 as a senior) — and Jaiden McClellan, who now are on college teams at Oregon and San Jose State, respectively.
As a result, Jesuit's offense, which averaged 5.3 goals per game in 2019, is down to 2.9 goals this season.
Bolstered by an airtight defense, though, Jesuit (7-0-1) has extended its unbeaten streak to 66. The Crusaders have outscored their opponents 23-0.
"It's very comparable to last year except we don't have the explosiveness," coach Steve Fennah said. "Obviously, Callan brings something a little different with her pace up front. But in many ways, with 11 seniors on the team, they're a year older and a year stronger."
The back line returned intact with seniors Samantha Heinsen, Macy Barhyte and Quinn Barrett and sophomore Eva-Simone Grunkmeier. All-American goalkeeper Mary Votava moved on to Notre Dame, but senior Olivia Juarez "has done a fantastic job" as her successor, according to Fennah.
"I wouldn't say she's been battered by any means, but she's made important saves in each of our games," Fennah said. "She's a very, very good goalkeeper that obviously had to be patient on our team with Mary over the last few years, being just a year older than her. But she's come into her own, and she's a leader for our team, as well."
The team's leader in the field is senior center midfielder Maddy Koleno, who has signed with Arizona.
"She has such a strong presence on the field," Fennah said. "Reads the game well, and is very athletic, so she's able to run at people."
The offense has been balanced. Junior Taylor Krueger and freshman Abby Cox each have three goals and five others have two.
Since opening with a 0-0 tie against Southridge, the Crusaders have won seven in a row. They beat West Linn 4-0 and Barlow 2-0, both 6A quarterfinalists from 2019. They also won 2-0 over Grant, a 6A second-round team last season.
"We couldn't score any goals against Southridge, as much as anything else," Fennah said. "I don't think we played any better or worse than any other day.
"We've been really fortunate in that our nonconference opponents are strong teams this year. So we've had competitive games from everybody we've had to play."
Jesuit gets a big test Thursday when it plays host to rival Mountainside (7-0-1), the team it defeated to win the Metro League and the 6A championship in 2019. With the teams tied for first place, Metro bragging rights are at stake.
"I'm sure our kids are excited for it," Fennah said. "We've had a little rivalry with them the last couple years."
Fennah said it is "sad" that the Crusaders won't get a chance to chase a four-peat. They will finish off their season next week with a four-team event at Providence Park, where they meet Clackamas on Monday and either Sherwood or Lincoln on Wednesday.
"It's an award for the kids, playing in the stadium," Fennah said. "But other than playing in the stadium, it's just two more nonconference games in a strange, strange season. We would've liked to have seen some kind of culminating event, but it's just too many variables."
Jerry Ulmer is a writer for OSAA Today
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