BELLEVILLE — Althoff busted out at the Belleville East Lancers' expense Friday.
The Crusaders found their offense in a 4-0 triumph over the host Lancers in a non-conference game on a chilly evening.
Sophomore Halle Ames scored in the first half, senior Rachel Kaltwasser opened the second half with a goal and senior Natalie Heitzman knocked in two goals in the closing eight minutes as Althoff improved to 3-3.
The Crusaders' four goals nearly matched the five they tallied in their first five games of the season.
"Even though I thought we dominated the game ... it wasn't necessarily like, 'Oh, my God. It's 4-0.' It was a closer game, I thought, than 4-0," said Crusaders coach Juergen Huettner, whose club was coming off a 3-1 loss at O'Fallon on Wednesday.
"They've struggled a little bit offensively, which we've done so far this season, too," he said. "It's nice that we won today 4-0. We haven't beaten East in the last two years, so it's nice to finally win a game against them."
Senior Kelly Brahmbhatt notched the shutout in goal.
The Lancers continued to struggle, falling to 0-5. They have produced a scant three goals.
"I think sometimes the soccer gods just are looking down on us, like, 'You've just got to put a little more work in. That's all," first-year Lancers coach Erika Baptist said. "It's hard to motivate your girls time after time when they're in a boat and can't hit water.
"But their goalie was an athlete --a 100-percent athlete. Althoff has well-respected athletes, and our girls worked hard. That's all I've ever asked."
The Crusaders scored the only goal they needed at 27 minutes, 2 seconds when Ames, positioned on the right flank about 10 yards outside of the box, flighted a ball on frame.
East sophomore keeper Kelly Hull backtracked and leaped with outstretched arms, but was left empty as the ball soared over her and settled into the left corner of the netting.
"I think she was just kind of more looking to put the ball in the box, and it just kind of floated in," Huettner said. "So it was a lucky 1-0 lead for us. Not to take away from her goal, but there was a little bit of luck involved in the shot."
The goal was damage enough for the Lancers, considering their offensive doldrums. But when Kaltwasser scored a mere 18 seconds into the second half, the curtain was all but dropped.
Kaltwasser gained possession soon after kickoff and ripped a shot on goal that caromed back to her for the finish to make it 2-0.
"The first five minutes (of the second half) are crucial," said Baptist, a graduate of Granite City High School. "It sets the tone for the whole first of the half and it's hard to come back. That's the basic component of soccer --the first five minutes.
"On the flip side, it's a good opportunity to attack. After they score, we've got to capitalize on the next five minutes. Unfortunately, that girl (Kaltwasser) was left wide-open and after that it was kind of like a scramble."
Huettner said: "She finished it off. She did a lot of work there. Obviously, it was a huge goal coming out of the gate. Huge."
The Lancers had a near-miss. Off a restart 15 minutes into the contest, freshman Danielle Melnek shot wide left.
"It's finesse," Baptist said. "It's clear and cut. We know what (the problem) is and we've got to fix it. We'll continue to work on it until it comes. Once that first win comes with goals, we won't stop. It takes one person and it spreads like wildfire."
Heitzman made it 3-0 at 72:02 when she rushed in from the right wing and finished a ball that had been crossed from the far left side. Heitzman cleaned up a mess in the box at 78:24, making the final margin 4-0.
"We can be happy today offensively," Huettner said. "East hadn't given up more than two goals in a game and we got four."