Photo Showcase: Nebraska state girls soccer Friday
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The state's No. 1 girls team picked one heck of a time to get hot, and the result is a spot in next week's state championship.
Omaha Marian continued its torrid offensive ways Friday night, hanging four goals on fourth-ranked Millard West in a 4-0 victory in the semifinals of the Class A girls state soccer tournament.
The Crusaders, after beating No. 7 Lincoln Southwest 3-0 Wednesday, were only the second team to score more than two goals on Millard West this season.
“We worked a little bit on box organization,” Marian coach Ed Dudley said when asked about his team's recent offensive success. “The kids are doing a great job with it.”
The Crusaders had beaten Millard West 1-0 in both regular-season meetings. In four matches against teams in the Class A field, they hadn't previously scored more than two goals. Now they have seven in two state tournament games.
“I think they feel like they can score,” Millard West coach Jacque Tevis-Butler said. “And when you have a team with a bunch of scorers like that, it goes a long way. Unfortunately for us it was tonight.”
Madeline Edwards got the scoring started, putting away a rebound that bounced off the crossbar in the 21st minute. Gini Yost would get another before the half, settling a ball into the box and taking her time to beat Millard West keeper Jordan Cassalia.
Freshman forward Faith Carter added a goal on a header off a corner kick in the 69th minute and Miami recruit Ava Ambrose tacked on her team-leading 15th goal of the season three minutes later.
“I think the changes they've made showed today,” Tevis-Butler said. “On at least two of their goals, they had someone come up from behind us and we didn't track their runs. It was great execution of sneaky plays. They weren't that sneaky early in the season.”
A shutdown defense allows that kind of creativeness, Dudley said. Friday night's shutout was the 16th of the season for the Crusaders. The unit has given up three goals on the season. Second-ranked Millard North was the last team to score on Marian, and that was more than a month ago. The Crusader scoreless streak is now nine games.
“It makes us dangerous on both sides,” Dudley said. “Defense is a total thing. This team defends pretty dang good.”
Marian is back in the state championship for a record 14th time, looking to add to its record 10 titles.
“It'll be fun,” Dudley said. “It's just a great honor to get there.”
Millard West (15-5) ..... 0 0—0
Omaha Marian (18-1) ..... 2 2—4
Goals: OM, Madeline Edwards, Gini Yost, Faith Carter, Ava Ambrose.
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