FREEBURG — Perhaps looking ahead to a title game showdown with Columbia, the Althoff Crusaders' offensive execution was far from pefect on Tuesday at the Class 1A Freeburg Regional Soccer Tournament.
The Crusaders defense, on the other hand, was flawless.
Senior Rachel Kaltwasser scored a goal in each half and the Crusaders defense shut Wesclin completly in a 4-0 semifinal win on a rainy and chilly spring night at Freeburg High School.
Kaltwasser scored in the opening six minutes of the game then added the Crusaders' third goal late in the second half as a sluggish Althoff offense finally wore down the overmatched Warriors.
Seniors Savannah Ames and Natalie Heitzman also added goals during the Crusaders three-goal spurt during the final 26 minutes of the game.
Althoff coach Juergen Huettner, although happy that his team is moving on, said he wasn't pleased by the overall offense of his team.
"It just seemed like we couldn't put two good passes together tonight until we had the play down on their (Wesclin) end where we put four or five together,'' Huettner said. "We were able to get the win, but we'll have to play better against a very good Columbia team.
The win moves the top-seeded Crusaders (10-9-3) into the title game on Friday against second-seeded Columbia (7-11) at 5 p.m. Columbia defeated Freeburg 8-0 in the other semifinal on Tuesday.
The Crusaders dominated in every phase of the game from the opening whistle. Owning a 9-0 advatange in shots during the first 40 minutes, Althoff scored the only goal it would need on a picutre perfect play with 5 minutes 30 seconds gone in the game.
Senior midfielder Natalie Heitzman drilled a corner kick in front of the Warriors goal to Kaltwasser who headed the ball past a startled Wesclin goalie Bailey Kattenbraker and into the net.
The score might have been much worse at halftime had it not been for Kattenbraker, who made three outstanding saves as Althoff put on nearly constant pressure.
"Bailey has been outstanding for us all year and tonight was no exception,'' Warriors coach Brad Reibold said. "I'm proud of my team. We had some key players injured, but the girls continued to play hard.''
Althoff, despite outshooting Wesclin 17-2, still led only 1-0 with 26 minutes remaining when Ames, headed to Western Kentucky University on a track and field and cross country scholarship, split two defenders and beat Kattenbraker from point blank range.
"Savannah gave us a spark. She just creates so much through all out desire," Huettner said. "Tonight she was rewarded for that desire with a goal.''
Kaltwasser and Heitzman added insurance goals late in the second half.''
Wesclin ends its season at 9-9.
Columbia 8, Freeburg 0
Junior midfielder Lauren Kaempfe broke loose for three goals in a 15 minute span midway in the first half as the second-seeded Eagles rolled past the Midgets in a battle of perennial Cahokia Conference powers.
After battling the injury bug on two different occasions during the regular season, a healthy Columbis squad showed off its offensive power against a rain-soaked Midgets squad which never knew what it.
Rianna Probst gave Columbia a 1-0 lead with a goal just seven minutes in. From there it was all Kaempfe as she broke down the Midgets defense for three straight goals.
"She's just so quick,'' veteran Eagles coach Steve Ross said of Kaempfe. "I was just glad to see our team healthy again. We've had two different two-to-three week stretches this season where we've had three players injured. And they were some of our regular players both times."
Madelyn Juenger added a pair of goals in the second half while Morgan Glaezner and Casey Wood also added late goals for the Eagles.
Meanwhile, Freeburg standouts Emilie Blomenkamp and Alyssa Houck were held in check.
"We knew that No. 12, Houck and I think No. 21 (Blomenkamp) were the ones we needed to watch,'' Ross said. "I thought we marked both of them well."
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org