Edwardsville girls soccer team will face Moline for sectional title

News-DemocratMay 29, 2014 

Coach Abby Comerford hasn't been scurrying about to get information on her Edwardsville Tigers' next postseason foe.

The Tigers (22-1) will play Moline (17-3) in the championship game of the Class 3A Normal Sectional at 5 p.m. Thursday.

With Edwardsville riding an 18-game winning streak that began March 31, Comerford is more concerned about its approach than anything the Maroons might do to counteract it.

"We have a little information (about them)," said Comerford, a graduate of Triad High. "But it doesn't matter which game we go into, we've just got to play our game. You're in the sectional final, so you know it's going to be a difficult game.

"You have to (execute) your style of play and not necessarily deviate from that. We've been successful this season by the way we play."

Edwardsville, whose 22 wins are the most in the history of its program, broke open a scoreless game at halftime and blanked Southwestern Conference champion Collinsville 4-0 in the semifinals Tuesday at Gene Baker Field in Granite City.

Sophomore Katlyn Schneider scored two goals and seniors Taylor Thompson and Lilly Cobb had one apiece in the victory. The Kahoks eliminated Edwardsville from the postseason in 2012 and 2013.

Senior Kristin Francis, meanwhile, lowered her goals-against average to .18, with four goals allowed in 1,819 minutes. The Tigers' back line consists of seniors Ashley Krekovich and Tori Harbison and freshman Mallory Mushill and sophomore Jane Ann Crabtree.

"They've had a tremendous season," Moline coach Rick Sanchez said of the Tigers. "We've been playing well, too, so we're hoping we're ready to play. I think we will be.

"We certainly know about Edwardsville and the kind of season they're having, so we've got a tall task in front of us. They play some quality soccer down there. They're on a good roll. We're going to have to continue to do the things that have been working for us on a consistent basis."

The Maroons extended their winning streak to seven Tuesday by outlasting Lincoln-Way Central 3-2 after taking a sudden-death penalty-kicks session 6-5. Moline, which overcame a pair of one-goal deficits, never has won a sectional title.

"We haven't been here," Sanchez said. "I think the girls are ready for the big challenge in front of us. We certainly respect the Edwardsville squad. We're going to do whatever we can and see what happens."

Freshman Abby Crabtree leads Edwardsville with 15 goals. Cobb has nine goals and nine assists and Schneider and junior Lexi Norton have five goals apiece. The Tigers, seeking their first sectional championship since 2007, have outscored opponents 56-4.

Moline has three double-digit goal-scorers in sophomore Jamie Althiser (23), senior Hannah Navarrete (16) and sophomore Katie Stewart (11). Althiser has 20 assists; Stewart has eight. Senior Rachel Holt has six shutouts in goal.

"(Althiser) is having a pretty good year," Sanchez said. "I'm sure they're aware of her. She's been pretty consistent for us and certainly has played to the level we wanted her to play."

Comerford said one of the Tigers' characteristics is a sense of purpose that prevents potential distractions.

"The girls play so well together," Comerford said. "They all get along with each other. We don't have fights or anything like that. There is no bickering between the girls. They hang out outside of soccer, also.

"They have confidence. We've been playing the entire season together and they've figured out where this person is going and where that person is going."

Edwardsville also is familiar with the grass field at Normal, essentially located in the middle of a cornfield and quite a walking distance from the parking lot. The Tigers played last there in 2013.

"We play up at Normal Community every other year; they're on our regular schedule," Comerford said. "The girls know what type of field to expect. They've made this road trip before."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service