Saints win another district soccer title
Playing in windy conditions and not with the wind in the first half, the top-seeded Saint Paul Saints hung in with No. 2-seeded and host Lee's Summit Community Christian last week in the championship game of the Class 1, District 13 Tournament. Once the Saints used the wind to their advantage, they dominated play, scoring three second-half goals and winning 4-1.
LSCC, which controlled play due to the wind in the first 40 minutes, broke on top in the 25th minute.
"We were basically hoping to play even (in the first half," SPLHS head coach Luther Schmidt said.
That's just what the Saints did. The Saints' defense and goalkeeper Nathaniel Lutz held strong the rest of the half, and Saint Paul tied the game in the 39th minute.
The Saints got a run going up the left side and Soon Young Jeoung found Sam Schmidt with a through ball and Schmidt connected with Phil Sarpong who got a shot past the LSCC goalkeeper.
"That goal and the nice keeping set the stage for us," coach Schmidt said.
Coach Schmidt said it took a little time for the Saints to adjust to playing with the wind.
"But the last 30 minutes were pretty much all Saints," he said.
Fredrik Bergh gave the Saints the lead with a goal in the 18th minute, scoring after getting a pass from Sam Schmidt.
The Saints looked like they stretched the lead to 3-1 five minutes later. Ole Haslie dribbled the ball past the LSCC defense and beat the keeper.
"But the assistant referee thought he saw someone offside and waved it off," coach Schmidt noted.
The Saints managed to get the all-important insurance goal to make it 3-1 in the 34th minute.
Haslie was taken down about 30 yards from the net, setting up a free kick.
"Kristian Aasen played a beautiful ball off the free kick with the wind that just caught the upper 90," coach Schmidt said.
Saropng made the final score 4-1 when he stole a pass, dribbled down and beat the keeper in the last minute of the game.
"For the game, Nathaniel had 11 saves with probably three or four of them using every bit of his abilities," coach Schmidt said.
Shots favored LSCC 18 to 13.
Class 1 Sectionals
The Saints, 21-3 and winners of a district title for the fourth time in the past five years, played at KC Barstow (11-11) in the Class 1 sectional round Tuesday. The final score was not available at press time.
If the Saints won, they will play in the quarterfinal round versus the winner of Pembroke Hill (20-3-1) at St. Pius X (15-11) on Saturday. Time and location to be determined.
The sectional round of the state playoffs are new to the bracket this year. In the past, only eight teams have made the playoffs, and the Saints lost in the quarterfinal round of the postseason in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Saint Paul fell to Pembroke Hill 2-1 in 2006 and 3-2 in overtime in 2007. The Saints dropped a 2-1 decision to St. Pius X in the quarterfinal round in 2008.