BELLEVILLE — It was a game to remember Tuesday for Belleville West senior goalie Mackenzie White.
White made two saves in the penalty-kicks periods, the second against O'Fallon senior Quin Wilkes, as the third-seeded Maroons outlasted the second-seeded Panthers 4-3 in the semifinals of the Class 3A Belleville West Regional.
"I cannot be any more excited about that," White said. "I mean, especially with Quin being such a great player. It's huge. Our team worked hard. I'm happy that we were able to stay with it and finish strong."
The game was tied at 2 after regulation and the first 10-minute overtime period. Each team scored a goal in the second OT, sending the contest into penalty kicks.
White put the Maroons in the driver's seat when she knocked out a shot by the Panthers' second shooter, junior Alyssa Delia.
West grabbed a 4-3 lead in PKs when freshman Kacie Kinniken converted. That brought Wilkes to the line to go for the tie. The Maroons' final shooter was on deck, but she wasn't needed when White went left and made a strong save on Wilkes' attempt.
Maroons players mobbed White, celebrating her heroics and a berth in the championship game. West (10-7-3) will play top-seeded Collinsville (13-5-2) for the title at 6 p.m. Friday. The Kahoks defeated the Maroons 1-0 on a penalty kick in the regular season.
"For Mackenzie to have the game that she had and to save that last PK, it's unbelievable on her part," Maroons coach Jason Mathenia said. "Without a doubt, this team that was around last year --and especially her --remember losing to them in PKs."
West not only avenged its loss to the Panthers in the playoffs last year, but also a 2-1 defeat to O'Fallon in two overtimes on May 6.
"We went into this game saying, 'We went into two overtimes last time. Let's try to put it away," White said. "But we knew we were so evenly matched. They're a really good team."
O'Fallon finished 12-7-2.
"It's a tough way to lose," Panthers coach Craig Dippel said. "Somebody's got to lose. I guess it was our turn."
Dippel credited White.
"She's a very good keeper," he said. "She made a lot of good saves, not only in the last game, but this one as well. It's tough when they're in PKs. ... I feel bad for all the girls, especially the seniors."
Junior Hannah Averick scored at 9 minutes, 29 seconds to give O'Fallon a 1-0 lead. Junior Sydney Carroll's head ball off a corner kick by freshman Alexis Miller made it 1-1 at 17:33.
The Maroons took a 2-1 lead on senior Brittany Gallego's goal on a long pass from junior Carli Tastad at 28:32. It remained that way until 61:47, when all-stater Wilkes beat a West defender and scored inside the right post --her 15th goal of the season.
West took a 3-2 lead with 6:19 left in the second overtime as freshman Jamie Adams scored from the top of the box off a throw-in. Nineteen seconds later, however, Panthers senior Sydney Pfankuch tallied from the right side of the box to tie it at 3.
"They came right back at us," Mathenia said. "While we were quickly trying to adjust to see if we could hold on the last five, six minutes, they came right at us before we could even adjust. They responded before we could get our shape."
Maroons scorers in the PK period were sophomore Amelia Coyne, Tastad, junior Taylor Vollmer and Kinnikin. Converting for the Panthers were senior Sydney Moore, junior Elaine Gorom and junior Kayla Wood.
Collinsville 4, Belleville East 0
In the other semifinal, the Kahoks lead just 1-0 at halftime but pulled away with three second-half goals.
Junior Mikayla McCarthy scored 25 seconds into the game to put Collinsville ahead for good. It was her eighth goal in the last eight games. Freshman Andrea Frerker, junior Sophie Sharos and junior Gabby Suria scored in the second half.
"To get that first goal lifted us up a little bit and took a little pressure off us --and put some pressure on them," Kahoks coach Clay Smith said. "(McCarthy) has got a little confidence now. She's starting to be creative in her runs and helping herself out."
The Lancers finished 4-17.
"We'll work for next year; that's what I didn't want to say," first-year coach Erika Baptist said. "We played tough competition against tough players. Our confidence was a little in the gutter."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.