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St. Vincent overwhelms Lutheran North
The Indians reached the Class 1 final four with a 5-0 victory in the quarterfinals.
FENTON -- St. Vincent's offense didn't let up after freshman midfielder Storm French scored the game's first goal early in the first half against Lutheran North.
The Indians offense kept attacking and scoring.
"Coach always tells us to go out and get it right from the very beginning and get the first goal, and then worry about scoring the next, then worry about the next, so you don't have to play catch-up," St. Vincent junior Liz Brueckner said.
St. Vincent, playing in its first quarterfinal soccer contest in school history, looked like an experienced playoff team. It scored three goals in the first half and posted a 5-0 victory over Lutheran North in Class 1 action at the Anheuser-Busch Center on Thursday.
St. Vincent (18-5) advanced to play St. Pius X Kansas City (16-8-1) in a Class 1 semifinal next Friday at 11 a.m. at the Anheuser-Busch Center.
"We're really excited," sophomore Emily Cissell said. "We've never done this before, so we're just going to continue to try our hardest and hope for the best."
St. Vincent won its first district title this year after coming close in recent years.
"We're always there and we're always competitive for being one of the small schools in the state," St. Vincent coach Dustin Wengert said.
Wengert is in his fourth year as coach. Two of the past three years St. Vincent lost in the district title game while Wengert's other year the Indians were eliminated in the semifinals by the eventual district champion. Perryville eliminated St. Vincent twice and Notre Dame eliminated the Indians once during the span.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association added a third class this year. That moved up Perryville and Notre Dame to Class 2 and kept St. Vincent in Class 1.
"I just think it levels the playing field now, instead of playing schools that have 300, 400, 500 kids," Wengert said about the new playoff system. "Now everybody is on their level playing field. But this is also a tribute to the Notre Dames, the Jacksons, the Cape Centrals, the Perryvilles and all the other [larger] schools we've played during the year that have helped us get ready for this kind of stuff, so then when we come meet a team like this, that's maybe not as talented, we can dominate from start to finish."
Brueckner said the team was excited when it heard about the additional class.
"We knew we had a really good chance with the new district setup," she said. "We looked at the teams in our new district and we knew we could really do well against them, and it really set us up nicely for the final four."
St. Vincent dominated the entire 80 minutes, taking 21 shots while St. Vincent goalies Anne Steele and Allison Ernst combined to make just three saves.
French, who took five shots on goal, tallied her goal from the edge of the box with 29 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the first half.
"It was really awesome to get the first goal," French said.
"They [Lutheran North] were good, but we just dominated, I guess. We wanted it more."
Cissell added the second goal with 15:13 left in the first half and Courtney Besand increased the lead to 3-0 a little more than eight minutes later.
After Besand scored, a member of the St. Vincent cheering section ran down the sideline holding a "Go Indians" flag. The rout officially had begun.
"We just tried to move the ball around a lot," Cissell said. "We were mainly passing."
Brueckner and Rachel Sutterer scored in the second half.
The Indians head to the final four with a young team -- they have three seniors and nine freshmen and sophomores combined.
Despite the youth, Wengert said his players do not lack experience.
"A lot of our freshmen and a couple of our sophomores and one of our seniors have played club ball out of St. Louis growing up," Wengert said. "So when they get into situations like this, they're not scared and they're not intimidated and nervous. They're not intimidated by coming up here and play at the complex. That allows us to relax."