Emotions were high Friday when the Belleville East Lancers visited Waterloo for a nonconference girls soccer game.
The Lancers, who had dropped three straight games in the series, finally turned the tables on the talented Bulldogs with a pair of second-half goals by sophomore midfielders Lauren Buschur and Annie Brown.
East (9-5) won for the sixth time in its last seven games, the only misstep coming in a 2-1 defeat to visiting Granite City in a Southwestern Conference game Thursday.
It wasn’t beautiful like I was hoping. We had some nice moments when we could connect passes. We’ve got to get better with balls over the top. But we had well-rounded finishing, and that’s good. We don’t want to count on just one person to score.
Belleville East coach Erika Todd-Baptist on her team’s victory
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“I think it’s because we needed the win (coming) off of Granite,” third-year Lancers coach Erika Todd-Baptist said of the emotionally charged contest that featured plenty of contact. “We felt confident in the conference with what we had left and we kind of fell short a little bit there. We needed to gain back momentum.
“It wasn’t beautiful like I was hoping. We had some nice moments when we could connect passes. We’ve got to get better with balls over the top. But we had well-rounded finishing, and that’s good. We don’t want to count on just one person to score.”
Waterloo (11-3-2), which had won six in a row and was on a 12-game unbeaten streak, lost for the first time since a 3-0 decision at Edwardsville on March 19.
We had some opportunities, especially early on. We hit (a shot) right above the crossbar and had a breakaway. That’s kind of been our thing the last few games.
Waterloo coach Chad Holden
The Bulldogs had a difficult time mounting a consistent attack.
“It seemed like it,” Waterloo coach Chad Holden said. “We had some opportunities, especially early on. We hit (a shot) right above the crossbar and had a breakaway. That’s kind of been our thing the last few games. The defense has been doing its part. We’re just not quite putting it into the back of the net. That’s fine. It will come.”
The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Lancers scored the only goal they needed, in controversial fashion, at 43 minutes, 33 seconds.
The ball went off Waterloo to the right of the goal, and as the Bulldogs set up to defend a corner kick from that side, East launched its corner kick from the left side.
Buschur wound up with the ball at her feet after it rolled past a handful of players, and she ripped in a shot from inside the box to make it 1-0. It was her seventh goal of the season.
“Rylan (Lopez) kicked it in. Then it deflected off of somebody and I was just thinking, ‘See ball, get it,’” Buschur said. “So I ran and hit it into the corner.”
Holden said the referees made a mistake and confirmed it by looking at a rulebook.
“They were wrong,” Holden said. “I’m not going to say it cost us the game, but the rule states that a corner kick is supposed to be taken on the side (the ball goes out). It’s not like a goal kick where you can go anywhere. Clearly, it was over there (on the other side). Our outside mids watch that area, so they were way over there. We were set up for the other side.
“I have no idea why they were able to take it over there.”
Todd-Baptist said Lopez, instead of chasing the ball as it went past the end line, grabbed the ball by the extra ball by the net and set up the corner kick without the officials taking notice.
“(The ball) was all the way back there, so instead of shagging it, (Lopez) just grabbed the ball closest to the goal,” Todd-Baptist said. “We’ve never come across that. It’s never been an issue before. But that’s how it was. I wasn’t ready for it, either. It happens.”
Brown clinched the outcome with a 30-yard rocket on a feed from junior Grace Brauer at 71:12. Senior Julia Moran started the play by saving the ball from going out and sending it into the middle of the field, from where Brauer fed Brown to make it 2-0.
“I was just going up the field with Grace and she gets it at her feet and passes to me,” Brown said. “I’ve been working on my striking, one-touch shooting. Luckily, it went in.”
It was Brown’s fourth goal of the season.
“She’s our engine,” Todd-Baptist said. “She was like that last year, but now she’s shooting. She’s just got to keep moving forward and be known as a goal-scorer in the middle.”
Sophomore Grace Tantillo logged her fifth shutout of the season. Tantillo made a slick save in a one-on-one situation with Waterloo sophomore Sydney Luedeman in the 17th minute.
Moran was part of the Lancers’ staunch defensive effort that included senior Lilly Brauer, junior Alyssa Endsley, sophomore Cecilia Maue and freshman Haley Harlen. East has surrendered six goals in its last seven games.
“We like the shutout,” Todd-Baptist said. “We’ve got to get better at working (the ball) out together as a team and having support in case somebody gets beat. We’re going to fix that - having confidence to work it out of the back and not just kick it up.”