Girls soccer: St. Joseph repeats as Class L champions

St. Joseph’s Jess Mazo and Lindsey Savko alternated scoring goals in the second half when the Cadets defeated Masuk High, 4-0 in the Class L girls soccer championship game in Middletown on Saturday.

It was the second straight state title for coach Jack Nogueria’s team — the third in four years for the Cadets’ five seniors.

“This year is a little bit sweeter,” Nogueria said of repeating. “Last year we were supposed to win, we had all the horses, we had all the players. This year was a little more gratifying because a lot of people didn’t think we could play and these girls came out and played.”

Mazo broke the scoreless match with a scintillating run off the opening touch. The sophomore wove her way through four defenders before she was knocked to the turf inside the penalty box.

Mazo tucked the ball into the upper right corner of the net and the third-seeded Cadets had the lead only 28 seconds into the second half.

Savko struck under three minutes later off of a free kick by Alexis Mason.

The ball was targeted to Tory Bike by the far post, and Masuk keeper Calli Sederquest went high to compete for it.

Savko pounced on the loose ball and found the net at 36:43.

No. 5 Masuk (17-3-2), which had held off numerous Cadet challenges in the first forty minutes, sagged for a few minutes before matching St. Joseph’s intensity the rest of the way.

Veronica O'Rourke made five saves for St. Joseph (20-2-1) and the Cadets sensed an opportunity to lock up another title and kept attacking.

Off a counter, Mazo showed off her speed and endurance, as she took off from midfield before drilling a ball off the left post and into the net. That took the score to 3-0 in the 63rd minute.

Mazo said: “That took a little bit of air out of me. (Masuk’s) Megan O’Mara was catching up to me. That was a long run. I tried to hit it and see what comes out.”

Nogueria said: “I’ve said all year that number four Jess Mazo is the best player in the state and she proved it today. To be honest, I thought she was incredible, no one can stay with her. I have two more years with her so that’s good.

“Lindsey — it’s been a great year for her, a great four years.”

Savko, marked tightly, was able to create enough space and tallied her second goal with 7:01 remaining to account for the final score.

“I was getting my head in the game,” Savko said of her thoughts heading up on the bus. “I’ve played soccer with Jack since I was ten years old. I’m so happy. Once I beat the defender, I thought I have this, this is my last year, I wanted get to thirty (goals scored for season) in this game, and that’s pretty amazing.”