O'FALLON — The Collinsville Kahoks' youth movement continued to produce somewhat surprising results on Tuesday at O'Fallon High School.
Freshman midfielder Andrea Frerker beat O'Fallon goalie Megan Burke with a shot from 25 yards out midway through the second half and the Kahoks defense did the rest as Collinsville edged O'Fallon 2-1 in a Southwestern Conference girls soccer game.
One of four freshmen inserted into the Kahoks starting lineup by coach Clay Smith, Frerker got the ball in the middle of the field and boomed a shot which sailed just over the outstretched hand of Burke and fell into the net.
Frerker's game-winning goal came with 22 minutes, 23 seconds remaining and gave Collinsville (6-2-1, 5-0) a 2-1 lead.
O'Fallon (7-3-1), which managed only three shots on goal all night, didn't challenge Kahoks goalie Holly Bluemner the rest of the game.
"We've got a group of very talented freshmen who have stepped right and done a great job for us. I'm not sure they realize how big it is for us to come over and beat a very good O'Fallon team on its home field,'' Smith said. "We graduated seven seniors -- including six starters -- from last year and so we needed some kids to step up.
"We've had that. These kids are like sponges in that they absorb everything you tell them. Its a very good group of players.''
While Collinsville's freshmen were the difference in the end, it was O'Fallon which jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Sturdy senior forward Quin Wilkes got behind the Kahoks defense and beat Bluemner from point-blank range.
The lead didn't last long. Just 27 seconds later and with 19:16 left in the opening half, Kahoks freshman Emily Holten tied the game with a goal which came at an angle on the right side of the field.
"That's the way it is when these two teams meet. They're going to battle back and we're going to battle back. Tonight they responded when we took the lead," Panthers coach Craig Dippel said. "But what it comes down is that we're not getting any opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. We had three shots all night and you're not going to be successful unless you can score some goals.
"It's a team thing. We're not moving up the field and we're not connecting with our passes. Its called a lack of execution.''
Bluemner, the Kahoks senior co-captain, came up big to keep the game tied with just over 30 minutes left in the game.
O'Fallon senior midfielder Sydney Moore got free in the middle of the field and line a shot which appeared headed into the lower left-hand corner of the Collinsville net. But Bluemner dove for the ball and deflected the shot wide before falling to the Panthers playing field.
"She's one of our seniors. One of our co-captains. It was a great save and gave us incentive for the rest of the night,'' Smith said of Bluemner. "It was a game-saving play by Holly.''
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 236-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org