Helias falls 1-0 to St. Dominic

Helias forward Jordan Poire beats St. Dominic’s Riley Ebenroth to the ball and looks to send a cross into the box in the first half of Monday’s match at 179 Soccer Park.

Helias forward Jordan Poire beats St. Dominic’s Riley Ebenroth to the ball and looks to send a cross into the box in the first half of Monday’s match at 179 Soccer Park. Photo by Kris Wilson.

On paper, St. Dominic looks like the team to beat this season in Class 2.

The Lady Crusaders return all seven all-state players from last season’s 28-2 squad that didn’t encounter much resistance on its way to the program’s third state championship.

On the field, St. Dominic is just as good, certainly worthy of being called the state’s top-ranked group. Monday night, Helias gave that team all it could handle. In a battle between Lady Crusaders, St. Dominic emerged with a 1-0 victory at the 179 Soccer Park.

“We’re definitely not satisfied with losing 1-0,” Helias coach Brad Dempsey said. “I don’t care who they are, we’re not satisfied. We’re going to get better. We know where we need to be, and that’s a great measuring stick for us.

“I thought we were going to have a chance tonight, and we did. We just didn’t get it done.”

While St. Dominic was responsible for the majority of both possession and scoring chances (13-3 advantage in shots, 9-1 shots on goal), it was Helias that had two of the game’s better scoring chances. Oddly enough, both resulted in shots that didn’t end up on goal.

The first opportunity came a little more than 11 minutes into the opening half. Jordan Poire made a nice run down the left sideline and sent a low, bouncing cross through the penalty box, excruciatingly close to the six-yard box. The ball ended up near the feet of an unmarked Maddison Lammers, who tried to volley a bouncing ball into the goal. The shot sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

The second chance came five minutes into the final half. Near midfield, Tiffany Weaver played a through-ball down the left side. Poire streaked onto the ball and blasted a left-footed shot from just inside the penalty box. It appeared destined for the lower right-hand corner of the net, but rolled just wide of the post.

“We have to capitalize on our opportunities,” Dempsey said. “As we continue to improve, play feet and get our shape, we’ll continue to get more scoring opportunities against teams like this.”

That would have proven to be the equalizer for Helias, which conceded the game’s lone goal with 7:17 left in the first half.

St. Dominic sent a ball into the box off a corner kick, and what resulted looked more like pinball than soccer. A scramble in front of the net, even a scrum, ended with the ball in the back of the Helias goal. St. Dominic’s Kristin Wolff appeared to have the final finishing touch.

“We can’t give up goals on restarts,” Dempsey said.

Other than that, Helias’ defense was of the bend but don’t break variety. St. Dominic senior Cristina Rodriguez, the reigning Class 2 Player of the Year, had little impact on the game.

“Taylor Hagenhoff shut down arguably the best player in the state, didn’t even know she was on the field because of her,” Dempsey said. “She took her out of the game.

“Our girls played phenomenal defense. Our goalkeeper (Liz Czarnecki) was phenomenal.”

The road for Helias (1-2) doesn’t get any easier, as the Lady Crusaders travel Wednesday to take on Rock Bridge before hosting Visitation Academy and Trinity Catholic on Saturday.

“We have a tough schedule,” Dempsey said. “We’re going to take it one game at a time and we’re going to get better.”

St. Dominic improved to 4-0 on the season.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the state because they have girls that play year-round, they love the game, they study the game, they’re athletic,” Dempsey said. “They’re the full package, they’re great, they’re a load. So are we. We feel like we have a strong team. Hats off to them. They’re a great team, and our program, we’re going to get there too.”

Helias won the JV game 2-1.

Morgan Rundle and Sydnee Kliethermes scored the goals for the Lady Crusaders. Katey Hunt and Kliethermes picked up assists.

Johanna Schokker and Olivia Wolken combined for the win in goal.

The JV team is now 2-1 on the season.

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