November 06, 2001 11:00 pm

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Greg Schuft was sick. And Greg Schuft was tired.

Toward the end of Tuesdays boys soccer playoff game, La Grandes leading scorer was sick and tired of listening to St. Marys goalkeeper talking.

The latter drew Schuft a yellow card from the referee in the 71st minute after the senior forward talked back to the goalkeeper. It didnt matter. Just four minutes earlier, Matt Nightingale scored on a header, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead that held up in the final


Im pretty tired, Schuft said afterward. They were a good team and we just played better.

Schuft has had to deal with an abscess in his throat and mononucleosis in the last few weeks, so he got plenty of rest before Tuesdays game. In the games 20th minute, he got his 26th goal of the season.

I just had a defender and gave him a move, Schuft said. I put a shot on the far post and it deflected off a defenders head.

The game-winning goal came five minutes later, when John Woodfields cross pass was taken by Kaylon Dunn and converted to a score.

La Grande (13-2) will play Catlin Gabel at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Portland in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. Catlin Gabel beat the Tigers 2-0 in that game last year.

Catlin Gabel beat La Salle 2-0 Tuesday, and La Grande beat La Salle 3-2 on Oct. 6.

La Grande coach Jessy Watson was particularly pleased with his teams ball control.

They moved the ball really well, Watson said. St. Marys is a good team. They came to play and they did.

In the 67th minute, St. Marys Thatcher Jones took a shot that La Grande defender Trae Perry deflected past goalkeeper Dustin Fuchs and into the goal.

The goal could have given the Crusaders life, but Nightingale took away any hope with his goal four minutes later. Seth Pennington sent a pass across to Nightingale in front of the goal, and Nightingale headed it past goalkeeper Greg Gradwell.