The girls soccer playoffs begin for Class 3A and Class 2A teams Tuesday while continuing at the Class 1A level.
In Class 1A, Gibault (12-5) will look to extend its winning ways when it faces Mater Dei (12-6) in the semifinals of the Freeburg Sectional at 4:30 p.m.
In the second semifinal at 6:30 p.m., Marquette (14-4-1) will tackle Harrisburg. The Bulldogs took down Massac County 3-0 to win their first regional championship Saturday.
The semifinal winners will meet at 7 p.m. Friday in the title match.
In Class 3A, Southwestern Conference rivals Collinsville, Belleville East, O'Fallon and Belleville West comprise the O'Fallon Regional. Edwardsville Granite City, Quincy and Alton are in the Edwardsville Regional.
In Class 2A, Triad will host a regional and will be joined by Waterloo and Mascoutah, fellow members of the Mississippi Valley Conference. Highland is in the Chatham Glenwood Regional.
Gibault backed up its No. 1 seed in the Columbia Regional by defeating Freeburg 2-1 on Wednesday and Columbia 1-0 on Saturday. Both victories, however, required an unlikely goal.
Junior Carley Olson's long kick bounced off the synthetic surface and into the net late in the second half against Freeburg. Freshman Madi O'Neill's shot early in the second half slipped through goalie Claire Foster's hands in the triumph over Columbia.
Gibault could be challenged by Mater Dei, which blanked Greenville 3-0 on Saturday to win the Metro-East Lutheran Regional.
The Knights have something the Hawks don't possess --a dominant scorer. Sophomore Hope Huelsmann has 21 goals to rank among area leaders.
Gibault's leading goal-scorer is O'Neill with nine, while Olson has seven.
"It's been an overall team effort," Gibault coach Matt Reeb said. "It just been who steps up in which game, which is good. We don't lean on one player, so if one player's not having a great game, we go to the next player."
The Hawks' forte is defense. They have surrendered just 16 goals this season and junior Kendra Davis has nine shutouts.
"We have a very strong defense. Defense has been our strength all year," Reeb said. "Over 50 percent of our games, we shut out teams. So you've got to like what we're doing defensively."
The Gibault-Mater Dei winner likely will meet Marquette, which is favored to defeat Harrisburg. The Explorers have enjoyed another stellar season and have a dominant player in Caroline Hoefert, who scored the first goal in Marquette's 2-0 win over Civic Memorial on Friday in the Marquette Regional final.
Collinsville (13-6) is the No. 1 seed and will meet fourth-seeded Belleville East (11-8-2) in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Collinsville, champion of the SWC, defeated East 5-1 in the regular season and has many of its key players from last season when it reached the super-sectional.
In the second semifinal at 7 p.m., No. 2 O'Fallon (15-5) will meet No. 3 West. The Panthers lost to both West and East in the regular season, although they defeated Collinsville.
The winners will meet in the championship game at 6 p.m. Friday.
Players to watch in the regional are senior Kat Roe (18 goals, seven assists) and sophomore Mikayla McCarthy (18 goals, four assists), of Collinsville, senior Lauren Knight (24 goals, six assists) and junior Quin Wilkes (22 goals, six assists), of O'Fallon, senior Kayla Delgado (23 goals, four assists), of Belleville East, and sophomore Sydnee Carroll (14 goals, nine assists), of Belleville West.
The host Tigers (11-4-4) are the top seed and will play fourth-seeded Granite City (5-12) at 5 p.m. Tuesday. In the second semifinal at 7 p.m., No. 2 Quincy (9-9-2) will face third-seeded Alton (8-11-2).
Edwardsville, which finished runner-up to Collinsville in the SWC, is favored based on its regular-season performance and because it will be on its home field. The Tigers already have defeated the three other teams in the regional.
Sophomores Allison Pritchard (nine goals, five assists) and Lexi Norton (eight goals, two assists) lead Edwardsville.
The title match will be at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Triad coach Mike Villa is in the final season of a stellar career at Vianney High in Missouri and at Triad.
Villa's Knights (13-5), who won the state championship in 2011, are coming off another championship in the MVC that netted them the No. 1 seed in the regional.
Second-seeded Waterloo (11-9-1) and third-seeded Mascoutah play at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday for the right to play Triad in the championship game at 5 p.m. Friday.
Junior Meredith Wendt (11 goals, three assists), sophomore Madisen Thomas (10 goals, four assists) and senior Natalie Sipole (eight goals, seven assists) are Triad's main scoring threats.
Freshman Erika Lloyd (12 goals, 11 assists) and junior Hope Elliott (11 goals, nine assists) lead Waterloo. Senior Mika Reid has 10 goals for Mascoutah.
Chatham Glenwood Regional
The host Titans are ranked third in the state and are the favorites to win the championship. Chatham Glenwood placed second in the state tournament last year.
Third-seeded Highland (11-7-2) will play second-seeded Jacksonville at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, following the first semifinal between Chatham Glenwood and No. 4 Jerseyville. Sophomore Morgan Sikora (20 goals, six assists) leads Highland.
The title game will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.