COLUMBIA — For Gibault senior Mitch Meyer and the Hawks winning any postseason game in late October is special.
Beating the Columbia Eagles on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Class A Columbia Sectional was priceless.
Meyer scored twice and the Hawks got splendid play from their defense and went on for a 3-0 semifinal win before a large crowd at Columbia High School.
Meyer scored off a rebound with 29 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first half then added his 17th goal of the season and second of the night with just over seven minutes left, when he beat Eagles goalie Eddie Starr from point-blank range.
Senior Tyler Enright added an insurance tally for the Hawks (15-4-2) with two minutes remaining, as Gibault moved into the sectional title game at 6 p.m. Friday against Althoff.
The Crusaders (14-3-2) advanced with a 6-1 win over Harrisburg in the other semifinal.
But for Meyer it doesn't get much bigger then upsetting the Hawks' Monroe County rivals.
"They (Columbia) have a lot of firepower up top, but our defense did a great job on shutting it down. This is a huge win for us because we put so much effort into tonight,'' Meyer said. "But we know we've still got so much more we can give.''
Sporting an explosive offense and a rock-steady defense which had allowed only 11 goals all year, the Eagles seemed out of sync for much of the first half, as Gibault set the tone early.
One of the state's top Class A goalies, Starr made the stop on the first shot, but standing on the doorstep, Meyer slammed the rebound to the back of the net for what proved to be the only goal the Hawks would need.
"He (Meyer) is a big-game player and tonight he scored a couple of big goals for us,'' Hawks coach Matt Reeb said. "With a 1-0 lead af halftime, we knew they (Columbia) would come out and apply the pressure on us in the second half.
"Columbia is a very good team. It was just sheer will by us tonight. The sheer will to win.''
The Eagles came out a different team in the second half. Unleashing an unrelenting offensive barrage at the Hawks defense and goalie Austin Gregson, the Eagles tried everything.
But on this night the Eagles couldn't dent the scoreboard.
Columbia's best chance came early in the second half when Brett Meyer's shot from 30-yards out hit the crossbar.
"It we score there its 1-1 and its a whole different game,'' Eagles coach Jason Mathenia said. "We just couldn't get on track offensively in the first half. We made some adjustments at halftime and settled down, but we just couldn't put one in the back of the net."
Althoff 6, Harrisburg 1
Junior Hayden Buss tallied three goals and fleet sophomore Donovan Gagen added a pair as the Crusaders blew past the Bulldogs and into the sectional title game with a lopsided win.
The Crusaders second-leading goal scorer, Buss broke a 1-1 tie with goal late in the first then tallied twice in a 15-minute stretch midway through the second half as he collected his first high school hat trick.
"I've had them in club soccer before, but this is my first in high school. My goal tonight was to score three goals and that's what I did,'' Buss said. "My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball and I was able to score, We played well tonight.'
Althoff will now take on a Gibault team it handed a 3-0 loss a few weeks ago.
"They (Gibault) are a very good team but I'm looking forward to playing them,'' Althoff coach Joe Burchett said. "I thought we played well in the second half. The first half we weren't as crisp as we need to be. But we made some adjustments and came out and played better in the second half.
"To see Hayden get the hat trick doesn't surprise me. He can put the ball in the back of the net.''