The O'Fallon Panthers outpossessed the Gibault Hawks the majority of the game Tuesday night, but weren't able to cash in their many scoring chances into goals.
But a four-minute stretch in the second half proved to be the difference as it propelled O'Fallon to a 2-1 victory over Gibault.
"We were moving the ball well, but we were struggling a little bit," O'Fallon coach Craig Dippel said. "We were looking for the perfect pass down the middle. We were shooting over the net. Their keeper made two nice saves in the first half. Other than the score, we played very well."
O'Fallon's best scoring chance of the first half came five minutes into the game. Senior forward Lauren Knight kicked the ball past Gibault goalkeeper Kendra Davis. The ball was slowly headed into the goal, but a Gibault defender slid and kicked the ball away. O'Fallon had several other scoring opportunities in the first half, but weren't able to produce a goal.
After a scoreless first half, the Panthers came out firing in the second half. Seven minutes into the half, O'Fallon junior midfielder Sydney Pfankuch received a pass at the top right of the penalty box. She turned to her left and struck the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. Pfankuch's third goal of the season gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later, O'Fallon junior midfielder Sydney Moore let off a shot from outside the penalty box. The ball was headed towards the top of the net, but Davis punched it over the goal.
On the ensuing corner kick, Pfankuch lofted a ball in front of the net. The ball bounced around, but eventually came to Moore. Moore fed the ball to junior defender Tori Gilster. Gilster buried a shot from outside the box into the top left corner of the goal to give O'Fallon a 2-0 lead. It was Gilster's first goal of the season.
With six minutes left in the game, O'Fallon was called for a dangerous high kick. The call led to a Gibault indirect kick from right outside the penalty area. Junior midfielder Bree Hasenstab nearly scored on the kick, but it hit the crossbar. The ball came down right to junior midfielder Courtney Olson, and she headed it in for her second goal of the season. The goal cut the O'Fallon lead to one, but Gibault couldn't get another scoring opportunity in the last five minutes.
"O'Fallon is a really good team," Gibault coach Matt Reeb said. "They have a lot of offensive power, a lot of offensive weapons. We were playing a lot of defense most of the game. I was pleased with how our defense played. We didn't get many chances ourselves because they had the better of the play most of the game. With a 2-1 result, we have to be satisfied, especially against a very good team like O'Fallon, and us being a school that's ten times smaller."
O'Fallon limited Gibault to only one shot on goal, which led to the Hawks lone goal off the indirect kick.
"(The defense) is playing well," Dippel said. "It helps when we possess a little more. They get time to rest, and they have fresher legs playing defense. They've been strong, and they played strong tonight."
The O'Fallon victory improved the Panthers' record to 8-4, while the loss dropped Gibault's record to 7-5.