WASHINGTON, Mo. – Washington provided an impassable defense Saturday to end the record-setting soccer season of North County in the Class 3 state quarterfinals.

The Blue Jays secured their first trip to the state semifinal round by netting one goal in each half for a 2-0 triumph.

Washington (24-8) advances to face Harrisonville (25-3) on Friday at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo.

North County (22-4) has reached its pinnacle in program history at the quarterfinal level in each of the past two seasons.

Michael Andrews headed in the first goal for the Blue Jays during the 27th minute on a free kick by Andrew Eckelkamp from the edge of the box.

Andrews and Conlan Jarvis led the attack for Washington by using exceptional speed to take precise angles on passes, and persistently pushed the ball forward.

Jarvis sparked the second goal after being tripped in the box by Noah Umfleet on an open break with 26 minutes to play. Umfleet received a yellow card, and Jeremiah Collins converted the penalty kick for a 2-0 edge.

The Washington defense was exceptionally stingy during the second half to maintain the lead. The North County forwards constantly struggled to break through the back wall of defenders on scoring attempts.

Collins stood out on the defensive end for the Blue Jays with an impressive drive to contain attackers.

Drew Forney often played up in the box to halt multiple opposing chances, and posted five saves for North County as Washington attempted 11 shots.

Forney made an outstanding diving save in the 18th minute against a quick-rolling free kick by Collins that sped under the jumping wall of defenders from 24 yards out.

Washington keeper Ottmar Escalante tallied five saves, and the Raiders unleashed 12 shots overall.

Escalante hurried to meet Grant Strauser near the top of the box during a counter run after the first goal, and  forced the shot to carry wide of the left post.

The Raiders began the second half by sending several long passes to their forwards in attempt to generate a tying goal, but Collins' penalty kick halted the aggression.

Joel Strauser was given a yellow card for taking down Jarvis about 35 yards from the goal during an intense final minute of play. The Raiders committed 10 fouls, and the Blue Jays finished with seven.

North County kept trying to create offense, but either failed to get within a favorable distance of the net or simply misfired.


Sports Reporter

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