Jesuit girls soccer raises trophy with 1-0 win over West Linn
It may not always have been pretty, but a win is a win.
Jesuit got an early goal from Mariane Dunne then hung on for roughly 70 minutes to win their first girls state soccer championship in three years, defeating West Linn 1-0 Saturday afternoon, Nov. 12, at Hillsboro Stadium.
The win capped a perfect 19-0 season for the Crusaders and helped get the perennial state power back to where they always plan to be—on top. But for head coach Steve Fennah, it's not just about the scoreboard, but also about how they play in the process.
"It wasn't so much winning, but about getting back to the traditions and attitude and carrying themselves the right way on the field and around school," the coach said. "I think we've done that this year and I think that's been our biggest success."
That's not to say the coach wasn't pleased with the win. He was, especially for his seniors who hadn't tasted this type of success in a while.
"I'm just excited for the kids," Fennah said. "Every year is special and every year is different. That's a good team with good athletes, and they made it really hard. We just had to grind our way through."
One of those seniors, Abigail Cox, was honored with the Crusaders' Player of the Game. She was part of the Jesuit team who lost in last year's second round to Forest Grove, and she spoke to that disappointment fueling this year's team in an effort to right that wrong.
"It (last year's loss) was disappointing," Cox said. "I hate to lose. I think all of us hate to lose, but we bounced back and we responded in a great way. From the beginning, it was our goal to work hard and put our best on the field, and we did exactly that."
Jesuit had a number of opportunities over the game's first 10 minutes, but it wasn't until just beyond the 10-minute mark that Dunne put the Crusaders on top, scoring from just outside the 18-yard box, putting a shot past West Linn goalkeeper Kyra Jeffrey.
Dunne said the goal caught her a little off-guard, thinking at first that Jeffrey had stopped her shot.
"I was shocked because it had that weird bounce and I thought she got it, but I think it went right under her," the freshman said. "I was in complete shock."
Dunne, who's Jesuit career is just getting started, said it's been her pleasure playing next to seniors like Cox, Ava Grunkemeier and Audrey Kent, who over time have become much more than teammates to the first-year player.
"They're not just good players, they're great friends," Dunne said. "Coming into this year with them I was really nervous, but the seniors are amazing and I love them so much. So much that I'm sad."
The Crusaders dominated most of the first half, but West Linn offered much more of a fight in the second stanza, even putting two shots off of the Jesuit crossbar in an effort to tie the game and narrowly missing from 12 yards in the 75th minute. The Crusaders however successfully staved-off the Lions over the game's final stretch, and in the end got what they've been working towards for the better part of four months—a state title.
"It feels good," Cox said. "This is my first time doing it (winning a championship), and I've looked forward to this since I was a kid. I know we're all super proud of ourselves and we worked super hard to get it day in and day out, so, just super grateful."
And Fennah, he may have said it best—in the simplest way.
"I'm very happy," he said.
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