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The Crusaders outshoot the Lions 17-6, but fall 1-0 in state semifinal Nov. 9 at Jesuit High.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jesuit's Omar Barajas (5) and Spencer Carle (10) are in front of the goal during the Crusaders' last shot opportunity in their state semifinal loss to West Linn Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Jesuit High School.It just wasn't in the cards this year for the Jesuit boys soccer team. The Crusaders' season ended with a 1-0 state semifinal loss to West Linn Tuesday night, Nov. 9, at Jesuit High School, but despite the effort and the quality with which they played, it's never easy watching things come to an end for the players or the coach who wanted it so badly.

"It's just a gutting feeling when that last whistle blows," Jesuit head coach Geoff Skipper said. "There's this emptiness when you know it's over and you're not going to be able to work with these kids again. I always feel like they deserve better because they earned it, but it just didn't happen for us."

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jesuit's Spencer Carle goes after a ball during the Crusaders' state semifinal loss to West Linn Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Jesuit High School.The No. 6-seeded Lions (15-1-2) got the game's only goal when Luke Tinsley finished a loose ball in the left side of Jesuit's net in the game's 38th minute. From there West Linn leaned on their goalkeeping and defense to keep the No. 2-seeded Crusaders (14-4) at bay, shutting-out the home team despite being outshot by a margin of 17-6.

Skipper gave all credit to the Lions – who've yet to allow a goal in six straight games – but at the same time spoke to the scenario playing against his team's strengths.

"It was just not our night," the coach said. "Sometimes you just feel like you could play all night and not get a score. When you start to force things it makes it all that much tougher to score. You press more to get shots and that's not really our game."

People outside the program tend to think Jesuit walks their way to state championships, but no one wins without putting in the work and Skipper said his guys did that. Additionally, the coach said this team's biggest asset was their intelligence on the field, and it was that level of smarts – coupled with their work ethic – that made it easy for he and his staff.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jesuit's Brady McClellan during the Crusaders' state semifinal loss to West Linn Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Jesuit High School."To win a state championship is very difficult and I give all the credit to the team that's going to win on Saturday because you've got to have hard working kids, but also the ball has to bounce your way," Skipper said. "But I think our number one asset was our smarts. They understood the game and could make adjustments on their own during the game. It's nice when you can coach and know the kids are going to adjust accordingly and you don't have to deal with egos or kids not getting along. This was just a great group and they had great chemistry."

They also had quality senior leadership. Skipper pointed to Luc Insley, Landon Azevedo, Spencer Carle, and Brady McClellan as the backbone of this team, and singled-out junior Drew Pedersen as a key to next year's squad.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jesuit senior Landon Azevedo goes up for a header during the Crusaders' state semifinal loss to West Linn Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Jesuit High School.Pedersen scored 18 goals this season and will be the catalyst to what their coach said will again be a formidable team in 2022.

"I had a really strong sophomore group on the junior varsity that will fill in for guys who are leaving," Skipper said. "We should be strong again next year. I'm not guaranteeing anything, but there's some good, strong, and smart players coming back."

West Linn will face No. 1-ranked Summit in the state final at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Hillsboro Stadium.

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