HILLSBORO – The brilliance of senior forward Drew Pedersen and a steady back line was more than enough for Jesuit to add to its record haul of boys soccer state championships Saturday night.
Pedersen had two goals and an assist and the top-seeded Crusaders locked down No. 7 Westview to win 4-0 in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 6A final at Hillsboro Stadium.
Senior Noah Hayes and junior Nathan Peters also had goals for the Crusaders (14-1-4), who won their first title since 2018 and increased their state-leading championship total to 16.
“That's 16 stars now on our shirt,” Peters said. “We have this tradition, and upholding it is really valuable to our team.”
Since winning their last title, the Crusaders lost in the quarterfinals in 2019 and the semifinals last year. They played the season hungry to get back on top.
“We've been waiting for this all year, and I'm just so excited for the team,” Pedersen said. “We're so happy. We're ready to celebrate. It's so special, especially after last year, losing in the semifinals. We all just played for each other, and that's how we won today.”
The win came two hours after Jesuit's girls beat West Linn for the 6A title on the same field. The Crusader boys were intent on living up to their end of the bargain.
“Walking away from here with second would be kind of uneventful,” Peters said. “We really went out and went for it.”
Pedersen opened the scoring in the 19th minute, punching in a rebound off a shot by senior Nico Hidalgo. Hayes made it 2-0 in the 25th minute when he converted a cross by Pedersen, who made a run up the right side.
Peters added the third goal in the 50th minute on a shot from about 12 yards out that passed through Westview senior goalkeeper Dennis Zimmer. Pedersen capped the scoring five minutes later by heading home a corner kick by sophomore Andrew Bromert.
“I felt like we came out, we wanted it, and we have the quality,” Peters said. “We really delivered how we should. It was an incredible attempt at it by Westview. They had a great run. But I felt like we brought the energy that we needed to win.”
The Crusaders, who defeated the Wildcats 4-2 in a league match Sept. 29, admitted to some trepidation to facing them again.
“It's always harder the second time,” Peters said. “They know what they're coming at. But we just had to play our game, and it proved to work.”
The early goals helped Jesuit settle into the match.
“We were a bit nervous beforehand, but once we got that, we knew we had it,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen, committed to Gonzaga, finished the season with a team-high 26 goals. His ability to put pressure on the defense and set up his teammates propelled the Crusaders.
“He might be the best goal-scorer that I've ever coached,” Jesuit coach Geoff Skipper said of Pedersen. “He puts the ball in the back of the net. I've had skilled players, and kids with great touch and great defenders, but as far as putting the ball in the back of the net, I think Drew's No. 1.”
Pedersen not only was the catalyst for the offense, but he became a safety valve for the Crusaders.
“He's the guy that you can go to whenever anything's in danger,” Peters said. “You find him, he's going to be able to figure something out and do something with it. He can run at as many people as he wants. He makes things work for our team.”
Pedersen's unselfishness typified Jesuit's style of play. Skipper raved about how the team fit together.
“Just a class act of a team I had this year, so I'm really excited for them,” Skipper said. “They came together as a unit. They take care of one another, they like one another. The team chemistry is what it's all about. It's much more important than anything I can coach.”
Jesuit's offense, which was in high gear in a 6-1 semifinal win over Gresham, was humming once again. And the defense kept the heat off junior goalkeeper Elliot Parelius, who did not make a save in playing the first 72 minutes.
“I just thought our team defense the last two games has been incredible,” Skipper said. “That's what's led to 10 goals in two games is the team defense that we played, just the communication out on the field.”
Westview, vastly improved after winning only two matches last season, was playing for its first title since 2017. But the Wildcats couldn't get into their game against the Crusaders.
“We came out a little lackadaisical,” senior JJ Diaz said. “And at the end of the day, they were ready. They've always been an intimidating team. Everybody's always been scared of them. And they came out and they showed it.”
Diaz recognized the play of Pedersen.
“You can expect it from him, but you can't really control what happens,” Diaz said. “He's just too good.”
Westview coach Jon Fresh was disappointed in his team's performance, but said he was “over the top” about the progress the Wildcats made this season. As the wins added up, his expectations grew.
“I really thought we had the chemistry that we could go far,” Fresh said. “I did not realize that we would be here tonight. But when the playoffs hit, and we started to play, things clicked.”