St. James returns to 4-1A soccer state quarterfinals
St. James Academy is headed back to the Class 4-1A boys soccer Final Four for the third straight year, and the Thunder have an opportunity to bring home their second straight state title.
They earned the opportunity by disposing of Louisburg, 3-1, in the state quarterfinals Tuesday at Lewis/Young Park in Louisburg.
St. James battled to a 2-1 lead at halftime and then tacked on an insurance goal in the second half that helped propel them into the next round.
A small field in Louisburg altered St. James’ usual style of play and limited the Thunder’s opportunities to generate attacks against Louisburg’s stifling defense.
The Thunder finally got on the board when Steve Loya battled to get open on the wing before firing a cross to Ian Deggendorf who headed the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Moments later, Louisburg tied the game when it capitalized on a St. James turnover in the midfield and scored on a breakaway.
A goal by Zach Kohlus late in the half gave St. James a 2-1 lead that held up through intermission.
Matt Gardner scored a goal off of a Loya assist in the second half to give the Thunder some breathing room, and the two-goal lead held up the rest of the way.
Bonner Springs (15-1-3) will play Rose Hill (12-4-3) in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka. St. James (11-6-2) will play Wichita Trinity (15-2-2) at 7 p.m.