Senior Bayne Noll scored less than eight minutes into the game Saturday morning and it was all the Edwardsville Tigers needed.
Noll struck from the right side of the box on a feed from senior Alec Mills at 7:14, jump-starting the Tigers to their 2-0 victory over Belleville West in the championship game of the Class 3A Edwardsville Regional.
The goal was set up by senior Kyle Wright, who won a race for a loose ball in the left corner before crossing it to Mills for the assist.
“Kyle worked really hard in the corner, won the ball and (was) able to find Alec, who found me in the middle to finish,” Noll said of his fifth goal of the season. “That was really nice to start off early with a goal like that, to just set the mood for the game, to keep working hard and keep fighting and not letting up.”
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Sophomore Cooper Nolan put the game out of reach for with a goal at 59:17, finishing a shot by senior teammate Jacob Mulvihill that caromed off a sliding Maroons senior goalie James Wiegers.
Edwardsville (16-1-3) will play Collinsville (16-7) in the semifinals of the Rock Island Sectional at 5 p.m. Tuesday at O’Fallon Township High School. The winner will advance to play Normal or Joliet West in the title game at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“They’ll try and play some direct balls into the strikers, because they’ve got some good ones,” Tigers coach Mark Heiderscheid said of the matchup with Collinsville. “The hope is we can knock it around and make it a good game. (But) Collinsville is a very formidable opponent. They’re a tough matchup for us.”
Edwardsville blanked the Kahoks 3-0 on Sept. 12 in Collinsville.
West finished 12-8-3.
“The first half, we were fighting the wind, trying to get control of the ball,” Maroons coach Rob Thornberry said. “Play definitely opened up in the second half. (Nolan’s goal) took the wind out of our sails.
“Edwardsville limited our chances. I felt like when we played them in conference play (a 2-1 loss Oct. 10), we had a lot more chances than we did today. This was a very physical match. Emotions were high. It was a good battle.”
The Tigers kept West senior Garrett Bass out of the scoring column, no small accomplishment given that Bass has 23 goals and nine assists. Bass’ best chance came two minutes before Nolan’s goal, but Edwardsville senior keeper Michael Hoelting went down to make a clean pickup of Bass’ shot.
“They pitched a tent around him,” Thornberry said. “They did a good job of closing space around him.”
That was no small task, Heiderscheid said.
“Garrett is one of the biggest handfuls that’s been around in years,” he said. “Look at his goals – from a guy in the Southwestern Conference. How many people get that? The Southwestern Conference has grinders. It’s tough for a conference player to get that many goals. That really says something.”
Gibault 1, Waterloo 0
The Hawks scored an own goal in the second overtime to claim the championship of the Class 2A Bethalto Regional.
Gibault (14-6-3) will meet Carbondale (17-5-1) in the semifinals of the Columbia sectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Sophomore Sam Ward had seven saves in goal for Waterloo.
Triad 2, Columbia 1
The Knights outscored the Eagles 4-2 in penalty kicks to secure the upset win in the title game of the Mascoutah regional.
The game was scoreless after regulation before Columbia took a 1-0 lead in the first of two 10-minute overtimes. Triad’s Kenyon Davis scored in the second overtime to tie the game and send it to penalty kicks.
Zach Kraabel, Colton Clark, Eli Kraabel and Grant Keller converted PKs for the Knights (12-13-1), who will play Marion (13-9-2) in the semifinals of the Columbia sectional at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The Eagles finished 23-1-2.
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm