Maroons, Panthers advance to regional final

By Scott Marion For the News-DemocratOctober 22, 2013 

— In a game where offense was hard to come by, Jake Reifschneider found the perfect time to score his first goal of the year.

Reifschneider's blast from 25 yards out on the left side beat Collinsville goalie Brett Niedzwiecki with 2 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the first overtime period, and O'Fallon hung on for a 1-0 win Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Class 3A Belleville West Regional.

The top-seeded Panthers (12-8) advance to face Belleville West in the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday. The host Maroons (12-8-2) beat Belleville East 6-0 in the second semifinal.

"Jake has been playing left back for us most of the year, but his offensive capabilities are pretty good," O'Fallon coach Jason Turkington said. "In the CYC Tournament, he hit the post two or three times with great shots.

"It was a solid shot and he just kept working. Mike Nguyen made a great play in the middle to set him up."

Prior to Tuesday's game, Reifschneider didn't even have an assist.

"Mike got the ball to me and I just turned and took a hit," said Reifschneider, a junior. "It means a lot to me because it's my first goal and it's the regional. When it went off my foot, I felt it had a pretty good chance of going in."

Collinsville, which lost 3-0 to O'Fallon during the regular season, finished at 10-11-1.

"They had their one chance and they had a good finish and we couldn't battle back to get the equalizer," Kahoks coach Myles Hensler said. "It's unfortunate, especially for my senior class, because we worked hard for 100 minutes."

Collinsville had a good scoring chance with 25 minutes remaining in the first half, but O'Fallon keeper Steve Green came out to make a diving save on Grant Bauer from just inside the box.

With 19:42 to play in the half -- around 5:20 p.m. -- play was stopped to lightning. IHSA rules require a 30-minute delay after the last lightning strike before play resumes. The game started again at 6 p.m. after a 40-minute break.

The half ended in a scoreless tie, with neither team generating much offense.

"I don't think the break affected either team at all," Turkington said. "It took both teams a while to get in the flow of the game."

The pace picked up early in the second half, with Green making save on a hard shot by Bauer in the first minute. Less than two minutes later, Collinsville's Luis De Anda got past the defense on the left side, but couldn't get a clean shot off from a tough angle.

With 31:30 remaining, O'Fallon's Gus Phelps had one of the best opportunities for the Panthers, but his shot from 20 yards out went wide left.

Collinsville nearly scored with 21:40 to play after a scramble in front of the net, but Green made a kick save on Bauer from 15 yards out.

O'Fallon turned up the heat with 11:55 on the clock, as Niedzwiecki made a diving save near the left goalpost on a shot by Nguyen. One minute later, Andrew Derby's shot from close range on the left side sailed over the net.

"Give credit to both teams because it was a back-and-forth game," Hensler said. "It was a little choppy and a little sloppy at times, but the heart and the passion was there."

The shutout was the fifth of the season for O'Fallon.

"Our defense played very well," Turkington said. "Overall, I thought we had some good moments. The flow went back and forth, but I'm proud of my guys because they played hard."

In the second game, West's Todd Seibert took a pass from Hunter Siebers and beat East keeper Cody Mathews from 15 yards out to give the Maroons a 1-0 lead with 34:53 remaining in the first half.

Seibert, off a throw-in from Matt Klosterman, picked up his second goal with 31:44 to play in the second half. Siebers made the score at 30:22, after Mathews made the initial save on Seibert.

West added to its lead at 26:18 on a goal by Howard Thomas, with the assist going to Siebers. Klosterman, assisted by Sam Kaeser, added a goal on a free kick at 1:51. With 11 seconds left, Seibert got the hat trick, with Andrew McEviilly picking up the assist.

East (6-12-1) had several opportunities against West goalie Nate Petrekovich, but couldn't put the ball in the net. With 13:40 left in the second half, Maroons defender Nick Harry booted the ball away after East's Matt Sotiropoulos slipped past Petrekovich and got off a shot from point-blank range.

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