Jackson 'D' looks to remain stingy in Class 2 showdown

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Jackson's defense returned only one starter from last season's quarterfinal team, but that hasn't stopped it from putting together one of the stingiest seasons in state history.

Through 26 games, Jackson has allowed only nine goals, for a .346 goals against average. The Indians strung together 17 straight shutouts, all wins, before allowing a goal to Central in the district finals. For the season, Jackson has recorded 20 shutouts -- all by sophomore goalkeeper Kylie Werner -- to tie the state record.

"My defensive players have really stepped up and done well," Jackson coach Zack Walton said. "Any time you add four new defenders in the back you're doing really well to have this kind of season."

The Indians (22-3-1) will need their defense to have a chance to get by Nerinx Hall, the top ranked team in the last Post Dispatch top 10 poll. Nerinx is 24-3-1 heading into a 6 p.m. sectional matchup with the Indians tonight at the Anheuser-Busch Center in Fenton, Mo.

"We're going to have to come out and play some of our best soccer," Walton said. "I really feel if we can win it, there's no one we can't beat."

Jackson's defense is led by senior Ashley Bartels, the only starter back from last season. Bartels has been a steady influence in the backfield, always in the right place to keep the Indians out of danger.

"She's done a nice job back there all year long," Walton said of Bartels.

Nerinx has a high-scoring attack, featuring four players with 10 or more goals. Elaine Beck and Brooke Schuppan lead the team with 17 goals apiece.

Jackson counters with a high-scoring threat of its own in junior Molly Hartmann. Hartmann scored the 100th goal of her career in Jackson's final regular season game and added to that total with a goal against Farmington in the district tournament. As a team, Jackson has scored 94 goals, an average of 3.6 a game.

Walton said while most team's try to focus on Hartmann, his team has other options to go to.

"I've had a lot of girls that have stepped up and scored goals this season," he said.

Notre Dame looks for second straight final four berth

Notre Dame's girls turned their first district championship last season into a trip to the Class 1 state championship game.

A year later the Bulldogs have added district title No. 2, and with a 2-0 win Saturday over St. Pius the Bulldogs are on their way to a possible second consecutive final four berth. Notre Dame (18-4-2) will play Bishop DuBourg at 5 p.m. tonight in a Class 1 quarterfinal at the Anheuser-Busch Center.

"Being here last year, we're used to this atmosphere, but you don't want to take anyone for granted," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said.

Notre Dame will get a chance to avenge one of its four losses when it plays DuBourg (10-11-3). The Bulldogs dropped a 1-0 decision to DuBourg at the I-55 tournament earlier this month.

"You feel a lot more comfortable having seen them already, knowing what they'll try to do," Worley said.

With 10 of its 11 starters back from last season, Notre Dame has plenty of experience to lean on. One of those starters, goalie Katie Palmer, recently played her first full game since missing time with a shoulder injury.

"It doesn't look like she's having any problems," Worley said. "She's doing full practices, and she's catching everything above her head."

Limited to just one goal in its last meeting with DuBourg, Notre Dame's offense has scored 25 goals in four games since. Lauren Mehner leads the team with 17 goals.

"We really are making the most of our opportunities," Worley said. "We've raised our level of play at the right time."


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