The Blue Jays are flying in new territory.

Washington soccer (23-8) has reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in the program’s history following a 1-0 sectional victory against Webster Groves Tuesday. They will host North County (22-3) Saturday at Scanlan Stadium with a trip to the final four of Class 3 on the line. Start time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

While North County, located in Bonne Terre, has only lost three games this season, to Farmington, Smith-Cotton and Carthage, the Raiders have otherwise not played the same level of competition that the Blue Jays have faced all year. Perhaps the most impressive wins for the Raiders have come in the middle of the state, against Helias and Hickman, or in twice beating sectional foe Windsor and district foe Cape Central.

The Raiders did avenge one of their losses, beating Farmington in the district semifinals.

Washington was battle tested all season with games against Vianney, a state quarterfinalist in Class 4, Lutheran South, a quarterfinalist in Class 2, Priory, a semifinalist in Class 2, and twice against GAC Central foe Ft. Zumwalt South, a fellow quarterfinalist in Class 3. The Blue Jays also took second place in the CYC / Bob Guelker Tournament, one of the tougher tournaments in the St. Louis area, without giving up a single goal until the championship game.

“I’m smiling ear to ear here with the idea that we’re going to the quarterfinals,” Washington Head Coach Derek Schriewer said. “North County has had a very good year. They travel south a lot and play some rural teams.”

The Blue Jays and the Raiders share five common opponents — Union, Sullivan, De Soto, Hillsboro and Festus. Both Washington and North County won all of those contests.

North County has posted an impressive 4.2 goals per game and have not been shut out once all year.

However, Washington’s two goalies, Christian Longseth and Ottmar Escalante, have amassed 14 shutouts this season. Both matched the previous single-season shutout record in the school’s history, which Escalante broke with his ninth shutout, six solo, of the year against Webster Groves.

Meanwhile, the Jays have been dominant on offense at times this season in their own right. Conlan Jarvis and Jeremiah Collins have each surpassed the former single-season record for assists in a season and Jarvis has scored 28 goals, within two of that record. 

Collins’ 20 assists lead the team, the two biggest coming on corner kicks to Michael Andrews in both the sectional and the district championship game against Pacific.

“He’s been one of the most quality players I’ve ever coached,” Schriewer said of Collins. “He manages the game on the field. He’s really like having another coach out there.”

The Blue Jays built up a swagger over the course of a nine-game winning streak from September into October that has carried over into the postseason. Their confidence is justified after winning 18 of their last 20 games.

“I don’t care who we’re playing,” Schriewer said of the quarterfinal round, at the time a potential match with either North County or Windsor, after his team’s victory Tuesday. “I think we’ll win it.”

Other quarterfinals in Class 3 taking place Saturday include East (Kansas City) at Harrisonville, Zumwalt South at Parkway Central and Republic at Glendale.