By René Ferrán | Pictures of Taylor Balkom
Dominic Hoar-Weiler knows the expectations that come with wearing a Jesuit football shirt.
“Every team knows who a Jesuit is,” said the main defender. “I mean, we won 15 championships before that, so we knew other teams wanted to spoil that.”
The last team with a chance to spoil the Crusaders’ bid for a 16th OSAA State Championship was 6A Metro League rival Westview on Saturday night at Hillsboro Stadium.
But there was no denying that Jesuit had another blue trophy to add to the crates outside Knight Gym. Gonzaga signee Drew Pedersen capped his career with two goals and an assist, and Hoar-Weiler helped anchor the Crusaders on their seventh shutout in a dominating 4-0 win.
“We came over there and took care of business,” Hoar-Weiler said. “We had a tough couple of years where we weren’t able to show what a Jesuit is and reach the final and win the championship. So this year it was about proving who a Jesuit really is and getting that Jesuit trophy back.
Of course, “rough years” is a relative term, given the Crusaders (14-1-4) reached the quarterfinals in 2019 and the semifinals last fall.
“It’s so special, especially after losing last year in the semi-finals,” said Pedersen, who scored six goals in five playoff games to finish with 26. “We’ve been waiting for this all year. Our coach said to make it an even number. We had 15 state titles, and now we have 16. That was the goal.
Still, a state championship was not a given after the Jesuits started the season 5-1-2, capping the non-league slate with a 3-1 loss to Lincoln which coach Geoff Skipper said ended the season. served as a wake-up call to league play by reminding players “how much we hate losing and having to come back afterwards.”
“It takes them a while to figure out that everyone is going to come out and play their best game against us,” the fifth-year coach said. “Everyone wants to take us down, and every once in a while it’s going to happen. Lincoln played a hell of a game, and I wouldn’t say we learned much from that loss, but it gave us a bit of a boost. »
The Crusaders opened the Metro game with a 4-2 win over Westview, a loss the Wildcats (14-3-2) recounted after beating Aloha 2-1 in overtime in Tuesday’s semifinals to win the game revenge.
They entered Saturday’s final brimming with confidence, but two goals in 5½ minutes midway through the first half dashed their hopes of winning a first title since beating Jesuit in the 2017 final.
“I knew it was going to be tough because the Jesuits are always good,” senior captain JJ Diaz said. “They definitely showed up today. They were ready. And they’re intimidating, so once they get one in advance, everyone’s like, “Damn it.”
Although disappointed with the result, Diaz reflected on how far the Wildcats have come in the past 12 months — from 2-9-3 a year ago to 14 wins and a berth in the state finals.
“We were bottom of the standings, last in the Metro League, so it’s a big accomplishment for me and for the whole program,” the Seattle Pacific signee said. “It wasn’t the result we wanted, but second place, a lot of teams couldn’t say that. I’m proud of what the boys achieved.
The Jesuit, ranked No.20 in the country by United Soccer Coaches, outshot Westview 12-2 on penalties, including a 9-0 penalty shootout advantage.
“We were a little nervous at the start,” Pedersen said. “But we came out shooting and we were ready to play.”
Pedersen opened the scoring in the 19th minute, after Dennis Zimmer’s reaction save on Nico Hidalgo’s header from a Noah Hayes cross and hammering the ball in from six yards out.
Less than six minutes later, it was Pedersen’s turn to set up a team-mate, heading for the baseline on the right wing and serving a pinpoint cross to Hayes, who covered his shot from 10 yards out.
Jesuit put the game aside early in the second half. Nathan Peters’ low drive from 20 yards squirted through the keeper’s grip and crossed the goal line in the 49th minute. Five minutes later, Pedersen headed Andrew Bromert’s free kick just outside the penalty area near the right corner.
“Believe me, I know it’s been a chore,” Skipper said. “But this group has formed very well. Chemistry was the big thing. They care about each other, and that’s more important than anything the coaches can do.
“And putting the ball in the back of the net the last two games hasn’t hurt either.”