Helias downs Lady Jays 2-0 in soccer

Katlyn Cowell (third from right) celebrates with her Helias teammates following her first-half goal in Wednesday night’s game against Jefferson City at the 179 Soccer Park.

Katlyn Cowell (third from right) celebrates with her Helias teammates following her first-half goal in Wednesday night’s game against Jefferson City at the 179 Soccer Park. Photo by Kris Wilson.

The Helias Lady Crusaders were hungry for a result against a quality opponent.

Beating the No. 4 team in Class 3 should help ease that feeling a little bit.

“We’ve struggled at times against very good teams,” Helias coach Brad Dempsey said Wednesday night after the Lady Crusaders (ranked No. 5 in Class 2) blanked the Jefferson City Lady Jays 2-0 at the 179 Soccer Park.

In the last 10 days, Helias had held leads against Visitation Academy (No. 1 in Class 2) and Incarnate Word Academy (No. 5 in Class 2) before losing late to both. Wednesday night’s win could go a long way in boosting Helias’ confidence as the postseason nears.

“In the sense of this being a huge win moving forward, outside of the fact this is a big rivalry game, it most definitely is huge,” Dempsey said. “I am so happy with the way we played in this game.”

After the loss, Lady Jays coach Eddie Horn looked at the big picture.

“Obviously, it’s a disappointing result for us, but one game doesn’t make or break your season,” Horn said. “The result was probably pretty fair for how the game went.”

Helias was the more aggressive team at the start, controlling the pace of play with multiple deep runs into the Jefferson City defensive end.

“They just jumped on us from the beginning,” Horn said.

The Lady Crusaders got on the board on what was their fourth corner kick just 14 minutes into the game. Becky Roberts directed the ball to the front of the Lady Jays’ net and Katlyn Cowell went up to head it in for the score.

“We’ve got some players with good size who aren’t afraid to put their heads on one,” Dempsey said.

It was the first of several strong plays by Cowell, a defender, in the contest.

“She played fantastic tonight,” Dempsey said. “She put the ball in the net, she defended well.”

Jefferson City was well aware of Helias’ strength on restarts.

“That made it a little disappointing to give up one on a corner kick,” Horn said.

After the score, the game settled into a battle between the two penalty areas for the remainder of the half.

“They weren’t going to back down, we weren’t going to back down,” Dempsey said. “A lot of times the play was ugly because it got to the point neither team was going to give and quality soccer went out the door.”

Helias ended the half with a 5-3 edge in shots.

On the defensive end, Helias paid special attention to Jefferson City’s Sarah Luebbert. Luebbert, a sophomore who has already orally committed to play at Missouri, was shadowed by Helias freshmen Lexy Lamb and Morgan Wieberg all night, all over the field.

“We had two freshman that are phenomenal athletes that played great tonight,” Dempsey, who taught Luebbert in elementary school, said. “I have all the respect in the world for Sarah, she’s one of the most dangerous players, if not the most dangerous player I’ve seen all year.

“We knew if we let her loose, that would be a problem because if you let her touch it and get up to speed, as an opposing coach, you lose your breath.”

But with Lamb and Wieberg always within an arms length of Luebbert, that didn’t happen.

“We didn’t have anybody else step up to make a play for us with them marking Luebbert so tightly,” Horn said.

Jefferson City was a little more dangerous in the second half.

“We generated a few half-chances, I wouldn’t call them good chances,” Horn said.

Helias got its insurance goal with eight minutes remaining on a hustle play by defender Meghan Nappier. The senior tracked down a ball down the right side, then centered it toward the Jefferson City net. Lady Jays keeper Becca Sturgess got her hands on it, but it trickled past the line and into the net.

“There’s nothing you can do on a play like that,” Horn said.

Dempsey agreed.

“Becca did the right thing by trying to protect her near bar, it just went in,” he said. “Those things happen when you put the ball on the net.”

Sydnee Kliethermes got the shutout in goal for Helias, stopping five shots.

Horn said the Lady Jays will use the game as a learning experience.

“Helias showed us some things we need to work on if we want to advance in the playoffs,” he said.

Jefferson City (16-4-1) will host Waynesville on Friday. The JV game will start at 5 p.m., with the varsity to follow at 6:45 p.m.

Helias (13-7-1) wraps up its home schedule Saturday against St. Francis Borgia. The JV game will start at 11 a.m., followed by the varsity contest around 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday’s JV game between the Lady Crusaders and the Lady Jays ended scoreless.

III

Helias celebrated Senior Night prior to Wednesday night’s game, honoring seven Lady Crusaders and their families.

“Our seniors played their hearts out tonight,” Dempsey said.

Helias seniors include Jordan Poire, Nappier, Kaysie Scheuler, Tiffany Weaver, Abby Rockers, Caitlin Luebbert and Roberts.

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