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story.lead_photo.caption Jefferson City forward Ethan Blake leaps over an attempted tackle by Harrisonville's Dalton Lawson during a game this season at Eddie Horn Field. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

If it's good enough to get you there, there's no reason to change anything.

"We're just going to be us," Jays coach Scott Blake said as Jefferson City prepares to take on the St. Dominic Crusaders in the Class 4 soccer semifinals at 2 p.m. today at Eddie Horn Field. "We know what makes us successful, we can't worry about doing anything different, no matter who we are playing.

"I have no doubt we are going to have a moment. It's a matter of when the game is on your foot, what are you going to do with it? If we can carry that moment, we can be successful."

Jefferson City has definitely been successful this season. The Jays (25-2), No. 3 in the Class 4 Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association's power rankings, have established single-season records for victories, goals scored (108) and shutouts (19).

St. Dominic (22-1) enters the game at No. 1 in the power rankings.

"They don't have many holes," Blake said. "They are solid from the back forward. It's going to take our best game to beat them.

"But we believe we have the right type of team that can cause them problems. We respect them, but we won't play scared."

The Crusaders lost in the Class 3 quarterfinals last season. But the bump up to Class 4 seems to have agreed with them.

"It can either tank you or you can embrace it and try to go prove something," Blake said. "St. Dominic is a successful program and I think the opportunity to compete in Class 4 fired them up."

Jefferson City fell in the Class 4 quarterfinals last year. One big goal was to get past that this season.

"We've done that, now can we reset our sights on what's ahead?" Blake said. "The boys see the opportunity."

Neither team gives up much on the defensive side. The Crusaders have 13 shutouts and have allowed just one goal in their other 10 contests.

"They like to keep their defensive integrity, which is why they've allowed so few goals," Blake said.

The Crusaders have scored 86 goals this season, while the Jays have allowed just nine.

"We're going to need to keep numbers around their attackers and get decent clears," Blake said. "Then it's a matter of getting a clean counter attack."

The Jays feature a trio of proven goal scorers.

Ethan Blake and Bassil Ahmed have 26 goals each, while Breck McGrail has 24. Blake leads the team with 19 assists, while McGrail has 13 and Ahmed has totaled 10.

"Any time you have three guys with more than 20 goals, they are definitely going to draw attention," Scott Blake said. "It's tough to take three guys out of a match.

"Each of them has had their moments this year."

Being strong at the start of the game will be key for the Jays.

"They can play direct with their attack, but they've shown they can build it and knock it around," Blake said. "The first 10 minutes will tell a lot about what they want to do and we will be ready for those first 10 minutes. We will be disciplined."

Staying disciplined on restarts will be important as well.

"We have to make sure we have good matchups on their targets," Blake said. "But in the process of trying to close down the targets, we have to make sure we're accounting for the other players. They like to run a lot of guys through."

St. Dominic's lone loss came Oct. 20, a 1-0 decision at De Smet. The Crusaders gained a measure of revenge against the Spartans in Tuesday night's quarterfinals, winning 2-1 in PKs.

Jefferson City and St. Dominic have three common opponents — Francis Howell, Fort Zumwalt South and Rock Bridge. St. Dominic won those three games by a combined score of 8-2. Jefferson City went 2-1, beating Fort Zumwalt South (2-1) and Rock Bridge (2-0) and losing to Francis Howell (2-1).

Jefferson City's other loss was a 2-1 decision in PKs to Southern Boone.

This is the second semifinal appearance in program history for the Jays. In 1998, Jefferson City lost to Rockhurst in the semifinals and eventually finished fourth in the Class 4A tournament.

The soccer Final Four was originally scheduled to be played at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in St. Louis. But the Missouri State High School Activities Association, with COVID-19 restrictions in St. Louis County, decided semifinal games would be played at school sites.

Jefferson City is looking for the natural grass surface home field to be a true home-field advantage.

"It can play to our strengths," Blake said.

In today's other semifinal, Park Hill (16-9) will play at Jackson (17-3). Park Hill advanced by beating Rockhurst, while Jackson defeated Chaminade to move on in the bracket.

"We haven't faced our giant yet, this is our chance to slay one," Blake said.

The semifinal winners will play at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, in the championship game at the Lake Country Soccer/Cooper Family Complex in Springfield.

There will be no third-place game. The semifinal losing teams will share third place.

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