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Faith Lutheran looks for 1st Class 4A girls state soccer title

Faith Lutheran announced its arrival as a contender early in the girls soccer season when it snapped two-time defending Class 4A state champion Bishop Gorman’s 49-game unbeaten streak.

The Crusaders now are favored to win their first 4A state championship. They enter the state tournament as the Mountain Region champions with an unbeaten mark and a team full of skilled, versatile players.

It won’t be an easy task for Faith Lutheran, which plays North Region champion Galena in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Friday at Hug High School in Reno. Centennial will meet Douglas in a second-round game at 4 p.m. Thursday, with the winner playing Desert Region champion Coronado in the semifinals at noon Friday.

The championship game is 11 a.m. Saturday at Hug.

Here’s a look at the Southern Nevada teams:

Centennial (16-3-1)

Top player

Quincy Bonds: The senior forward has a single-season school record 35 goals and leads the team with assists for 87 points. In the first round of the state tournament Saturday, Bonds scored four goals in a 5-2 win over Desert Oasis.

Biggest strength

Battle-tested: The Bulldogs played a difficult schedule in and out of league play. They have the distinction of being the only team to tie Faith Lutheran and the only one to beat Coronado, and they had two wins over a strong Arbor View team.

What they’re saying

“We have to get a win over Douglas. If we can put them away early, that would help. We would really like a rematch against Faith Lutheran (in the state championship game).” — Centennial coach Tony Clifford

Coronado (19-1-4)

Top player

Taylor Book: The senior goalkeeper has been the main cog in 14 shutouts for the Cougars. She was at her best in the Desert Region tournament, allowing one goal in three games.

Biggest strength

Depth: The Cougars have worn down opponents late in games, in large part because of their depth.

What they’re saying

“We have always had a good starting lineup. This year we have more depth, so we’ve been able to try different lineups and different formations for the full 80 minutes.” — Coronado coach Dana Neel

Faith Lutheran (21-0-1)

Top player

Amelia McManus: The senior forward has 29 goals, more than twice as many as any other Crusader. She also has seven assists for 65 points.

Biggest strength

Versatility: The Crusaders have made a point to use several players in different positions. That paid off greatly last weekend, when they won the Mountain Region championship despite having five of their top players away with their club teams. They’re back at full strength this week.

What they’re saying

“They’re very loose, and they’re very confident about where they are. We just have to stay focused and in the moment. They’re very well prepared, physically and mentally.” — Faith Lutheran coach Bob Chinn

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Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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