Beaverton — Something felt special in the air on Monday evening, as the cool fall weather settled into a pleasant evening for soccer. On the one side, the dynasty Jesuit Crusaders, a program riding a 77 match streak without a loss with a record of 75-0-2. On the other, the determined and motivated Beaverton Beavers, who entered as underdogs but had a mentality of champions. Someone was going to win and on Monday, it was one that defined an entire program and their history up to this point.
The intensity was clear from the jump, as Jesuit and Beaverton battled for control of the pace. Beaverton grabbed control and made a hard push, quickly setting the tone of how this game was going to go. In the seventh minute, Beaverton’s Natalie Drotzmann sent a statement with a netter into the right corner of the net off a beautiful no look pass from Audrey Johnson. The shot put the Beavers ahead 1-0, giving a shot of momentum and confidence that carried throughout the match. Later in the half, Meg Unruh dropped a dime to Lauren Ashe, who drilled it from around 25 yards into the right corner and doubled the Beavers lead to 2-0 over Jesuit. The first half was defined by physical gameplay on both ends, and the Crusaders being plagued by a bevy of offside calls, including one that nullified a goal to cut it to 2-1. Beaverton would lead 2-0 at the half over Jesuit, with a second half that was much calmer to start before ramping up again.
Jesuit came out in the second half pushing it harder than they had all game, putting the pressure on the Beaverton back line to stop them. It was a combination of strong back line defense and Crusader miscues, as the Beavers broke up several plays before they would get too close to the box, and Jesuit being “flagged” for offsides by the sideline officials more times than I can count. With 24 minutes left, Beaverton put another dagger into Jesuit, as Audrey Johnson scored to make it 3-0 Beavers in command over Jesuit, Abigail Cox struck quickly afterwards for the Crusaders, drilling a netter at point blank range to cut the deficit to 3-1 with around 22 minutes remaining.
After these quick scores, the rest of the game was defined by rising tensions between teams and extremely physicality. Jesuit did everything in their power to keep the pace up, while Beaverton wanted to play at their cruising speed. These different tones came to a head, with Jesuit becoming increasingly frustrated with the perceived obstruction of game flow by Beaverton. The two teams clashed during sideline throw ins, requiring intervention by the head official and warnings to both sides. Further, a Beaverton player received a yellow card late in the match after an extremely physical play on defense, one that was deemed egregious and unnecessary. Couple that with Jesuit parents and students being extremely hostile to the officials, and it was a volcano ready to erupt at any moment. Ultimately, Beaverton would hold off a strong effort by Jesuit, upsetting the top ranked Crusaders 3-1 and ending their 77 match unbeaten streak, marking their biggest victory in school history.
Beaverton: Welcome to the big time! They not only picked up the win, but also proved their toughness, legitimacy, and potential on the bigger scale. Their back line was incredible for most of the evening: Brielle Fernando, Katelyn Sanders, and Natalie Drotzmann all deserve game balls for their performance. The offense had three true scoring opportunities and took them all, ultimately outplaying the Crusaders in a game of chess and tactics. This team is a legit 6A title contender, and can do whatever they put their minds to accomplish this season.
Jesuit: Streaks end, but championships define your legacy. The Crusaders were simply outplayed by Beaverton, who came out with a mission and ultimately executed it better in the end. However, their path to the 6A state title is still possible, but much more complicated than in years past. They need to clean up the mistakes on offense and fine tune their execution, as they had several chances to score but simply couldn’t make up the deficit. Huge props to the defense for keeping them away from the net, but they need to tighten up further out, as each of the goals by Beaverton came from medium range. Overall, they’ll still be in the 6A title mix and that’s all that really matters in the end.