Boys soccer: St. Edward starts fast, wins regional championship

Don't mistake St. Edward's efficiency for being too anxious for an encore to last year's third-place Class 1A finish.

The Green Wave are very focused on the step immediately ahead of them and on Saturday that was dispatching Genoa-Kingston 5-1 in the regional championship hosted by St. Edward. Less than a minute into the match, the Green Wave owned a 2-0 lead. Before Genoa-Kingston could get inside of 18 yards of the St. Edward goal, the Cogs' deficit was already three.

"Whoever we play next never matters as much as who we're playing. We want to score first and score again, it all starts with that mentality in practice so that we have the same thought process in games," said tri-captain Josh Johansen.

"Last year we had a reputation for burying teams early and we've talked in practice about doing the same," added Jackson Godfrey, who certainly practiced what Green Wave coach Tim Brieger has preached.

St. Edward got a corner kick right off the start and Chase Brieger's service was headed home by Godfrey from 12 yards out just 25 seconds after the opening whistle.

"There was a defender on me but as Chase served the ball he dropped off, so I had a clear lane with which to go straight for the ball," Godfrey said. "Scoring so quickly is crazy and to do it in a playoff gives everyone a jolt of energy."

No kidding. St. Edward (20-1-1) took the ball away from Genoa-Kingston (7-15) right off the restart and Zach Olenek was tripped inside the penalty box. Johansen converted the penalty kick at 55 seconds in for his team-best 29th goal.

"As I walk up I like to pick out a spot, never the same, look up to see if the keeper has moved, and then just make it a solid strike," Johansen said.

With only 7:47 gone, Olenek worked quicker to avoid a potential trip and his cannon shot ricocheted to where Godfrey could park an 11-yarder to bring his goal total to 10 for the season.

"Noticing their keeper sometimes gave up rebounds I was crashing the net and when it popped out I just had to finish," Godfrey said. "I think that (3-0 lead) was big because it takes away the other team's hopes for momentum from cutting a two-goal lead down to one."

Chase Brieger earned a second assist to bump his set-ups to nine for the season when he fed up Uriel Carachure for a nine-yard follow-up. Carachure's 19th goal made it a 4-0 halftime advantage.

St. Edward needed 29 seconds off the second half to take a 5-0 lead as Carlos Ibarra's ninth assist preceded Jacob Sheperd's fourth goal. While the Green Wave substituted throughout the opening half, that meant virtually everyone on the bench took part in St. Edward's fifth regional triumph.

Genoa-Kingston capitalized on a corner kick with 12:31 left to play as Aiden Tomlinson's service led to Omar Ortega-Lara's eighth goal.

The Green Wave move on to the Genoa-Kingston sectional and a Wednesday 4 p.m. semifinal against a Stillman Valley (14-5-1) squad that captured its seventh regional plaque on Friday with a 1-0 win over Oregon.

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