As the cornerstone of a defense that has allowed one goal all season, Faith Lutheran’s Jessica Nelson had every reason to smile after her team’s latest shutout Tuesday.
But the junior defender still broods over the only goal the Crusaders have given up in marching to a 9-0 start. The latest win came Tuesday in a crucial 3-0 Class 3A Southern League victory over Boulder City at Summerlin Centre Community Park.
“It’s definitely a bummer, but we knew it was going to happen, and at one time it did,” Nelson said of the Crusaders’ 3-1 win over Pahrump Valley on Sept. 25. “But we move on, we grow from it and just play our hardest.”
It’s been that dominant of a season for Faith Lutheran (9-0, 5-0), which has outscored opponents 56-1.
The win means the Crusaders sit alone atop the Southern League, with Boulder City (7-2-1, 5-1-0) in second.
The two teams meet again at Boulder City on Oct. 28 in a game the Eagles might need to win if they hope to have any chance of earning the top seed for the Southern League playoffs.
“They were our biggest competition, and we came out here and played well,” said Nelson, the reigning 3A state Defensive Player of the Year. “It’s a good win. It was a very important game.”
Like the last time they met — a 5-0 Faith Lutheran home win on Sept. 4 — the two teams were scoreless for most of the first half.
But similar to that game, Faith Lutheran scored in the final minute of the first half when Maddy Courvoisier sent the ball through multiple defenders just inside the left post.
“The last time we played them this happened, too,” Boulder City coach Ryan Teepen said. “After that first goal, it kind of took the wind out of us.”
The Crusaders went on to get second-half goals from Justine Curtis and Shauna Lee. Assists came from Lauren Meyer, Sydney Spoon and Courvoisier.
“Everyone on our team contributes,” Faith Lutheran coach Dave Elliott said. “If you look at some of our blowout games, everyone’s getting 30 or 40 minutes.”
The Crusaders dominated time of possession on their way to a 7-2 advantage in shots on goal.
Faith Lutheran goalkeeper Marisa Fehrman had two saves in the shutout, and Boulder City’s Jessie Forrester made 10 saves.
Before Courvoisier’s goal, Elliott said he was not worried the game might be 0-0 at halftime.
“If it happens, it happens,” he said. “Our defense has covered us all year. We have five really top-notch defenders, and I never worry about my defenders right now.”
Though his team appears to have all the pieces to equal or surpass last season’s run to the 3A state semifinals, Elliott cautioned there could be close games on the way. The Crusaders visit Pahrump Valley on Oct. 23.
“Pahrump gave us 3-1 the last time we played them, so Pahrump’s a tough team also,” he said.
Teepen expects his team to meet Faith Lutheran again at some point in the playoffs.
“It was a big game,” he said. “We need to get more physical, so we’re going to emphasize that in practice. We know that it’s going to be between us and them.”
Pahrump Valley 3, Moapa Valley 0 — At Pahrump Valley, Melissa Ewing scored two goals to help the Trojans beat the Pirates.
Sara Moser added a goal for Pahrump Valley.
Haley Williams made 10 saves to earn the shutout for the Trojans.