Despite a late offensive flurry in the final minutes of play, the Triad girls soccer team was eliminated from the 2A sectional tournament by Chatham-Glenwood on Wednesday night.
Losing 2-1, the Knights almost scored an equalizer late in the second half, but the door was slammed shut by a Glenwood player on the post.
With his team in a dominating position, Triad head coach Matt Bettlach said the team’s game plan changed late in the match, helping the Knights’ offense.
“We figured if we got four girls up top, they’ll have five or four girls in the back, and we liked our chances to get a ball,” Bettlach said. “We were going to go until that clock turned zero, and that’s what I wanted my kids to do.”
Eliminated by Glenwood for the second consecutive year, Bettlach was pleased with his team’s effort throughout the entirety of the game.
“I was just telling these kids I’m so proud,” Bettlach said. “We fought hard for 80 minutes. I just feel bad for these seniors who put in the effort in the offseason and worked their butts off this season. We came here tonight to get a result, and the ball just didn’t bounce our way a couple of times.”
Triad was the first team on the board in the contest, scoring in the first five minutes of play. After junior Allison Wendt slotted a pass into Glenwood’s box, senior Morgan Mell sent the ball into the back of the net for her eighth goal of the year and a 1-0 Triad lead.
Powered by senior Kelly Graves, Chatham’s offense was contained for the majority of the game, with the exception of one defensive slip. After their own corner kick, the Knights were caught off guard when Graves received the ball at half-field and took it all the way to Triad’s box and eventually scored.
“All our kids were so hungry to get a goal that all eight of our kids went to the ball,” Bettlach said. “The ball squirts out to one of their players and off she went.”
Bettlach said he knew containing Graves and her teammates would not be an easy task.
“There’s so many weapons that they have,” Bettlach. “We did try to man mark her and put the pressure on her. We felt like if we could keep her frustrated and uncomfortable it might make everyone else uncomfortable. We did a good job of that, but she’s such a good player, you can’t keep her down too long.”
With Triad eliminated, two Sangamon County foes — Chatham and Springfield High — face off for the 2A Triad Sectional Final at 6:30 Friday.