The St. Pius X: Kansas City Warriors have been atop the Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Class 2 girls power rankings all season.
The Helias Lady Crusaders believe they are more than capable of defeating the No. 1 Warriors today in a Class 2 quarterfinal match. Start time is set for noon at the Crusader Athletic Complex.
“As long as we stay out of our own way, everybody contributes, we will play good soccer,” Helias coach Jon DeSha said. “We’ve shown that at times this year. There also have been times where we’ve been our worst enemy.
“But we can’t be scared, we have every chance in the world.”
The Warriors (20-5) dropped two of their last three regular-season contests before claiming the District 8 Tournament title by outscoring their three opponents 17-0. It’s the seventh district title in the last nine seasons for the Warriors, who advanced to the Final Four from 2015-18.
DeSha doesn’t have a detailed scouting report on St. Pius X.
“I often don’t do a lot of research on teams,” he said. “What I do know is they have a track record of being a successful program, they’ve been in this position before and been very competitive.
“We’ve played opponents like that this season and I believe we will give them a good match. We know they’ll be solid, but every team has a weakness and it’s up to us to find it.”
The Warriors have posted shutouts in all 20 of their wins this season. In their five losses, the Warriors have allowed more than one goal just twice in regulation — a 3-0 decision against Bishop Miege and a 2-1 decision in the regular-season finale against St. Teresa’s Academy.
“It’s a city school, so we know there will be a lot of soccer players,” DeSha said. “That changes the game because the soccer IQ is different, it’s a style similar to what I want to play.”
St. Pius X is averaging 4.7 goals per contest, while allowing an average of 0.4.
The Lady Crusaders aren’t looking for a quick start this afternoon, just an even one at minimum.
“I’m confident we will match up with them, we just need to get out of the gate well,” DeSha said. “We don’t need 15 or 20 minutes of ‘who are we’ to start.”
Helias (16-9-1) has been in all five editions of the Class 2 power rankings this season, starting at No. 8, climbing to as high as No. 3 before coming in at No. 6 to enter the postseason.
The Lady Crusaders claimed the District 7 Tournament title, winning their three contests by a combined score of 15-1.
“We competed really well in the district,” DeSha said. “We put on good performances, we earned it, we should be here.
“I believe we can make it to the next level, we just have to grind and show it.”
Helias is 8-2 at home this season, while St. Pius X is 4-2 in true road games.
“Being at home is an advantage for us, but I don’t think it will throw them off their game,” DeSha said.
Helias is scoring three goals per contest, while allowing an average of 1.3.
Abbi Tesreau has nine shutouts in goal for the Lady Crusaders.
“I know she will have a good game,” DeSha said. “I have no questions about her, she has gone above and beyond anything I have asked from her.”
Alaina Meyer leads Helias with 17 goals. Dani Buker has 12 for the Lady Crusaders, while Rae Bohlken has nine.
“When they score, it really lifts the team,” DeSha said.
In his first season, DeSha led the Lady Crusaders to their first district tournament title since Helias won three straight from 2016-18.
“I don’t think any coach is satisfied, they are always going to want more,” he said. “But in terms of commitment and buy-in and drive, I’ve been very pleased. They’ve allowed me to change the way things have been done in the past and they’ve adapted and I hope they’ve had fun doing it.”
A win would advance Helias to next week’s Class 2 Final Four in Fenton. It also would add another point to the program’s championship factor, meaning the Lady Crusaders would bump up to Class 3 next season.
“I believe we are a Class 3 program,” DeSha said. “I think locally, we’re a Class 3 team. We think we compete better against Class 2 city schools, but we should be Class 3.
“If we move up, the kids will just have to grind a little more.”
The Helias-St. Pius X winner will face either Logan-Rogersville or Pleasant Hill in the semifinals at 5 p.m. next Friday at World Wide Technologies Park in Fenton. The third-place and championship matches are scheduled for Saturday, June 3.