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7 players of note on 'the' west-metro list

10/09/2012, 4:21pm CDT
By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune

Elliot Cassutt

The play of Diego Rios is making Minneapolis Southwest boys' soccer coach Jamie Plaisance wonder why he didn't bring the junior midfielder into the fold sooner.

In only his first year as a varsity player, Rios has scored the game-winning goal in five of the Lakers' nine victories. He did it again Wednesday, hitting the net 25 minutes into the Lakers' season-ending 2-0 victory over Buffalo.

Rios leads the Lakers with eight goals on the season.

The natural

Is there anything Richfield's Jessica January doesn't do well?

January is already one of the state's top hurdlers and she led the Spartans to the Class 3A basketball championship game in March.

On. Oct 2 she recorded her 1,000th career volleyball kill in Richfield's four-set victory over Mahtomedi.

The stopper

The Orono boys' soccer team is 5-1-1 in its past seven games, largely due to the play of senior defender Matt Larson.

Thanks to Larson's steady play, the Spartans have given up only three goals over that span.

"He anchors our defense and consistently shuts down opposing forwards," Orono coach Derek Engler said.

The opportunist

It's likely that Bloomington Jefferson's Erika Beek has never scored a bigger goal than she did last week.

Beek took a corner kick from Megan Somers and drilled a one-timer into the far corner of the net with 2.5 seconds left in the game, lifting the Jaguars to a 1-1 draw with No. 1, Class 2A Lakeville North.

The producers

It's clear that Maple Grove's tandem of quarterback Blake Skaja and wide receiver Jake Weineke are in synch right now.

Weineke set a school record Friday with four touchdown receptions in a 33-6 homecoming victory over Centennial that lifted the Crimson's record to 6-0.

The performance came one week after Skaja found Weineke eight times for 171 yards and a touchdown in a 41-20 victory over Anoka.

Weineke even threw a touchdown pass in that game, a 71-yarder to fellow wideout Brycen Wojta.

The sniper

Minneapolis South senior attacker Elliot Cassutt, who scored a state-record 10 goals in a game earlier this season, became the leading scorer in state's history with 162 points.

Cassutt had five goals and added three assists as the Tigers defeated Hopkins, Minneapolis Roosevelt and Totino-Grace.

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