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CBC's AJ Palazzolo and Webster Groves' Sheriden Smith, both seniors, were among 56 boys named high school All-Americans on Monday by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

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Smith, a forward who has committed to Missouri State, had team highs of 22 goals and 57 points to help the Statesmen win the Class 3 state championship for the second year in a row. He tied the Missouri State High School Activities Association record with five goals in two state-tournament games.

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Sheriden Smith tied the Missouri record last weekend for scoring the most goals in a boys soccer state tournament.

He was more satisfied with helping his team score an accomplishment that put Webster Groves in a category by itself.

The Statesmen, with a 3-2 win against St. Dominic in Saturday's Class 3 championship game at Soccer Park, became the first public-school team to win back-to-back titles within the Missouri State High School Activities Association. Webster Groves won its first state title last year, when public schools ended a 13-year drought by winning championships in three of the state's four classes.

“I think the gap is definitely shrinking between public schools and private schools,” said Smith, a senior forward whose five goals in two final four games tied the record set by Lindbergh's John Maurer in 1994. “It's kind of cool to be a part of that and to see that happening.”

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A day after losing the season opener, 1-0, on penalty kicks to Lindbergh High School on Aug. 25 at Selma Field, Webster Groves Coach Tim Cashel had a message for his boys soccer players.

 

During a classroom training session he put a line through the first two words of a sign that read "State Champion Webster Groves High School."

 

Cashel's point was that winning the 2014 Class 3 state championship was in the past.

 

"It's back to being regular old Webster Groves," Cashel said. "Losing to Lindbergh was liberating."

 

The challenge now is to repeat, something no public school has ever done. Of course, that's not going to be easy. Getting his players to stay in the moment, relax and play Webster Groves soccer is the task at hand.

 

Cashel said the players get a wealth of teaching opportunities from him and assistant coaches Tim Velten and Bill Daues.

Read more: Talented Statesmen Focus on Future
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