The Northwest Christian Crusaders put on another impressive display of power, and they’re now on the cusp of a Class 1B/2B state title.
The Crusaders, the state’s highest scoring team in 1B/2B, scored a 5-1 win over Mount Vernon Christian on Friday night in the state semifinals at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
Northwest Christian will take on Northeast League rival Saint George’s in today’s 4 p.m. championship final.
Senior forward Austin Friedly tallied a hat trick to help the Crusaders fortify an early 2-0 lead.
“At the start of the year our defense really struggled. I just told them, ‘You want to win games? We’re going to need four or five goals a game.’ They’ve just embraced that,” said Northwest Christian coach Mica Lamb, who led the Crusaders to the 2007 title in his first year.
Payton Gray got an open look in the middle of the field from about 30 yards out and lined a shot into the left corner of the goal past Mount Vernon goalkeeper Jesse Ketcham in the third minute to get the scoring started.
Northwest Christian (14-4) struck again when Jacob Weaver centered a ball for Friedly, who corralled it, split two defenders and fired it past Ketcham in the 10th minute.
“It just calmed everybody,” Friedly said of the two early goals.
Weaver added to the lead in the 43rd minute, hammering a shot home from the left side that ricocheted off the hands of Ketcham and in, giving the senior 57 goals this season. Friedly added two more goals, one in the 49th minute and another in the 68th. He has 33 goals to go with 30 assists this season.
Saint George’s 1, Providence Classical Christian 0 (OT): Junior forward Erik Muelheims took advantage of a mistake by Providence Classical Christian goalkeeper Daniel Mathiason, scoring the winning goal in overtime and sending the Dragons into today’s championship match.
Mathiason came out of the goal to field a ball that was tapped back him in the 84th minute but mishandled it. Muelheims corralled the loose ball, took one dribble and fired a shot into a wide-open goal. It was Saint George’s lone shot on goal in overtime.