Saints soccer falls in district finals
After a solid 10-8 finish to the regular season, the Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints came in to the Class 1 District 7 tournament as the second-seed in the five team tournament. After a tight victory over the Sacred Heart High School Gremlins, they eventually succumbed to the Lone Jack High School Mules, ending their season.
Wednesday, Oct. 24 — Semifinals
(3) Sacred Heart 0
(2) Saint Paul 1
The first postseason game for the Saints came in the semifinal round against the third-seeded Sacred Heart program. Despite the anemic final score, this win-or-go-home matchup was an exciting one accentuated by premier goalkeeping.
This matchup was right on-par with their past two games this season: a 1-0 Saints victory on Sept. 8 in the Clinton Tournament, and a 1-0 revenge victory for the Gremlins in Concordia on Oct. 11.
The Saints fired off 11 shots, eight of which were on goal. The Gremlins’ offensive was nearly as assertive, rattling off seven shots on goal. Both sides leaned on their goalkeepers, although the Mules were simply unable to keep the sheet clean, costing them their season.
Junior keeper Marcus Austenaa (three saves) and freshman keeper Elijah Rankin (four saves) combined for the shutout.
Five shots were sent by junior Trey Beerman (three on goal), while one of two shots sent by freshman Phillip McCaslin was on goal. That attempt found the back of the net, breaking the tie and ultimately sealing the Saints destiny.
Four other Saints fired off one shot each, all on goal.
The Saints advanced to 11-8 with the victory. More importantly, however, they advanced to a finals matchup with rival Lone Jack High School.
The Gremlins fell to 12-10 with the season-ending loss.
Friday, Oct. 26 — Finals
(2) Saint Paul 1
(1) Lone Jack 2
In the Class 1 District 7 finals matchup, the Saints took on arguably their biggest rival, Lone Jack High School. Unfortunately for the Saints, a trip to the state tournament wasn’t in the cards, as the Saints’ season would end in the district finals.
It was the second straight district championship loss for the Saints since their state championship in 2016-2017, although this tourney’s path was drastically different from last season’s. The Saints bullied the Mules last season in the semifinal matchup, winning 7-1. They then fell to Lutheran (Kansas City) High School, 1-0.
The district tournament victory was a long time coming for the Mules, who also fell to the Saints in the first round, 5-0, in their state championship-winning season. They also previously defeated the Saints this season, 3-2, on Oct. 2.
Juniors Haakon Hallebust (three shots, two on goal) and Simon Kifle (four shots, three on goal) paced the Saints in shots (13 as a team) and shots on goal (eight), although it was the freshman Phillip McCaslin who netted the team’s only goal on his only shot attempt. Senior Ammi Phillipos also put one of his two shots on goal.
Saints’ defenders did a solid job keeping the Mules away from the goal, allowing only five shots on net, although unfortunately two of the attempts weren’t kept from the net.
The Saints fell to 11-9 with the loss. It was a successful season for the Saints despite the early ending.
The Mules moved to 13-6 with the win. Their season ended days later, on Friday, Nov. 2, to Barstow High School in the first round of the state tournament.