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Gretna solidifies hold on No. 3 ranking as back-to-back state champions

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(Courtesy of KW Photography)

A state championship and unbeaten season on the line, Gretna (Neb.) did Monday what it had done all season: win in dominating fashion.

The Dragons capped a 21-0 season with a 6-1 win in the Class 1A state championship, scoring three goals in the first 20 minutes and dismantling a team that had lost just one of 17 games heading into the final. That performance was in line with what Gretna had produced all year, having outscored their opponents 118-6.

The Dragons won 19 of their 21 games by two goals or more, all while facing the pressure that comes with being defending state champions. Gretna handled those expectations with aplomb and didn’t miss a beat under first-year head coach Chance Hutchison.

Gretna did it with a balanced attack, too. Sophomore Allison Marshall led the team with 15 goals, as one of five players with 10 or more goals. Fittingly, the forward scored the first goal in the state title game, opening the floodgates.

With the emphatic championship victory, and a 42-1 record over the last two years, Gretna solidified its spot as the No. 3 team in the latest JWS high school soccer rankings.

(Note that these rankings do not include teams from Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.)

1. Valor Christian (Colo.), 16-0

The Eagles survived penalty kicks to win their second-round matchup and then cruised to a 4-0 victory Tuesday to advance to the state semifinals.

2. South County (Va.), 13-0-1

The Stallions just keep winning, as their unbeaten streak has now surpassed 30 games.

3. Gretna (Neb.), 21-0

Gretna’s future looks just as bright with plenty of talent returning. Only one of the six goals in the state championship game was scored by a senior.

4. Colonial Forge (Va.), 15-0

The Eagles beat Massaponax last week for the second time this season. Massaponax’s other 15 games have all been wins.

5. Valley (Iowa), 16-0

The reigning Class 3A state champions capped a perfect regular season with a 10-0 victory Tuesday. Next up: a regional semifinal.

6. St. Thomas Aquinas (Kan.), 13-0-2

The Saints opened the postseason with an emphatic 11-0 win to remain undefeated.

7. Liberty North (Mo.), 19-0

The Eagles’ last loss came on May 19, 2021.

8. Wando (S.C.), 18-1

All-state selection Kylie Cino scored the game-winner in overtime as Wando won a second consecutive Class AAAAA state championship Saturday, beating T.L. Hanna 2-1. It’s the Warriors’ 12th state title in program history.

9. Colgan (Va.), 16-1-1

The Sharks won a district title on Wednesday and now have over a week to prepare for the regional tournament.

10. Yorktown (Va.), 14-1-1

Senior Shay Montgomery, a University of South Carolina commit, scored two goals as the Patriots opened their district tournament with a 3-0 win Wednesday.

11. Fort Zumwalt South (Mo.), 23-1

With Missouri State commit Brooke Cattoor and sophomore Audrey Smith leading the way with 29 goals each, the Bulldogs clinched a district crown and are looking to repeat as Class 3 state champions.

12. James Island (S.C.), 20-1-2

The Trojans have won back-to-back Class AAAA state championships, cruising to a 5-0 win in the title game Saturday.

13. Grandview (Colo.), 15-1-2

The Wolves knocked off Legacy, No. 9 in last week’s rankings, in the Class 5A state quarterfinals thanks to two goals and an assist from Naomi Clark. It doesn’t get any easier from here; next up is a matchup with No. 1 Valor Christian.

14. Triad (Ill.), 18-1

Gina Catanzaro leads the Knights with 19 goals as they aim to repeat as 2A state champions.

15. O’Fallon (Ill.), 19-1

Illinois’ reigning Class 3A state champions opened the postseason with an 8-0 win Tuesday.

16. Broomfield (Colo.), 15-2

The Eagles have rebounded from a poor finish to the regular season, when they lost two of their last four games, to advance to the Class 5A state semifinals.

17. Hudsonville (Mich.), 13-0-2

A pair of 1-1 draws are the only blemishes in an otherwise perfect season.

18. Lyons Township (Ill.), 18-1

The Lions showed no rust coming off a week of rest, winning their playoff opener 9-0.

19. Nerinx Hall (Mo.), 18-2-1

Nina Preusser scored the game-winning goal in overtime, her team-leading 13th goal of the season to go along with 13 assists, as the Markers won a 3-2 thriller Tuesday to keep their state title hopes alive.

20. Metea Valley (Ill.), 16-2-1

Since losing two games in as many days in mid-April, the Mustangs have reeled off eight consecutive victories.

21. Oregon (Wis.), 14-0-1

The Panthers have posted shutouts in 12 of their 15 games.

22. Marshall (Mich.), 17-0

With an 8-0 win Tuesday, Marshall recorded its 11 shutout of the season and enters the rankings for the first time.

23. Deer Creek (Okla.), 15-2

The Antlers claimed their seventh state title in program history, and first since 2015, avenging one of their two regular-season losses in the championship game. Deer Creek defeated Norman North to claim the 6A crown, thanks to three saves from junior Cam Hasselwander in the shootout.

24. Brookfield East (Wis.), 12-0-2

The Spartans have reeled off 12 straight wins after tying their first two games.

25. Fayetteville (Ark.), 17-3-2

Lauren Marge scored two goals and added an assist as the Bulldogs avenged an early-season defeat to Bentonville, No. 13 in last week’s rankings, with a 4-3 win in the state semifinals. Fayetteville now has a chance to win back-to-back Class 6A state championships.

Phillip Suitts is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. He has worked at a variety of outlets, including The Palm Beach Post and Southeast Missourian, and done a little bit of everything from reporting to editing to running social media accounts. He was born in Atlanta but currently lives in wintry Philadelphia. Follow Phillip on Twitter @PhillipSuitts.