(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, February 07, 2013 9:06 PM
The St. Louis lineup is dotted with new faces this season, but a few elder statesmen led the way as the Saints opened defense of their Division II state soccer championship with a 4-0 win over St. Michael in the regional round.
The No. 2 Saints (17-5-6) will host No. 7 Bolton in the quarterfinal round. Bolton advanced with a 2-1 win over Belle Chasse.
Saints senior Alex Kjellsten produced a hat trick, scoring the first three St. Louis goals. Junior Patrick Ieyoub finished the scoring, blasting a free kick into the bottom right corner in the game’s final minutes.
“We only have four or five guys that had ever been in a playoff game,” Saints head coach Jason Oertling said. “We were a little nervous to start. Once we calmed down, you saw the way we could play soccer. We controlled the ball and played well. They calmed down and started being aggressive. We were able to get a lot of kids into the game, that will help in the future. Every game is going to be tough.”
Kjellsten opened the scoring with a header off a free kick by Ieyoub in the 28th minute. He scored again just before halftime, tapping in a loose ball just in front of goal. To complete the hat trick, he lofted a shot from the right wing over the keeper’s head 14 minutes into the second half.
“Alex really took over the game,” Oertling said. “Their goalie was really aggressive and playing off his line. We talked about sending one to the goal and trying to chip one since he was so aggressive. Alex picked his head up and saw him before he took the shot.”
St. Michael created few scoring chances, producing two shots on goal.
“We start with defense and that will always be what we hang our hat on,” Oertling said. “We were solid. We won the ball on the goal kicks and the free kicks. We felt like if we could win the ball in the air on the 50-50 balls, they would have a hard time breaking through our defense and that is what happened.”
Oertling said Ieyoub has sacrificed for the team.
“We didn’t have defender back other than (goalie Marcus McNamara),” he said. “Ieyoub did a great job playing sweeper. He is really playing out of position; he is a great center midfielder. He has taken the responsibility of playing out of position because that is what’s best for the team. We have a lot of guys who have done that, and when you have guys playing for the team, it all comes together.”