The Althoff Crusaders enter the Class 1A Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran Soccer Regional as the top seed and ready for all challengers.
Veteran coach Skip Birdsong would have it no other way.
After finishing the regular season with a 12-4-3 record, Althoff heads into its first round regional game against Christ our Rock Lutheran on Tuesday battle tested, but knowing that from here on out every game could be its last.
“We don’t look at like we’re the top seed and the team to beat. We look at it like there are a number of teams which have had successful seasons and that anybody can be beaten on a given night,’’ Birdsong said. “This group of kids came into the summer ready to work and the success that we’ve had hasn’t been about any one individual. It’s been about the team and doing whatever it takes to make sure that we, as a team, have a successful season.’’
The Christ our Rock Lutheran Regional is one of four which feed into the Class 1A Althoff Sectional, Oct. 16-17 and 20 at Althoff High School. Other Class 1A regionals are being held at Breese Central, Greenville and Freeburg High Schools this week.
Glen Carbon Father McGivney (13-7) is the other top seed at the Althoff Sectional while Murphysboro and Mater Dei (8-9-3) are the two No. 2 seeds.
Senior forwards Mitchell Kidd (17 goals, 11 assists, 45 points) and Stone Galloway (11 goals, 7 assists, 29 points) lead the Crusaders offense while goalie Ethan Haege, with the help of a solid defense, has six shutouts.
“We had a run at a tournament earlier this year where didn’t allow a goal for several games. Recently though we’ve been a little banged up in the backfield. but Ethan (Haege) has been very solid for us,’’ Birdsong said. “Mitchell (Kidd) has been a big part of this offense for the last four years as has Stone (Galloway). We’ve had to move him around a little bit more this this year because of the injuries, but he’s done a great job.’’
The winner of the Althoff-Christ our Rock Lutheran game will take on either fourth-seed Mount Carmel or seventh-seed Carlyle in the regional title game on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Class 2A and Class 3A first round games begin on Saturday and early next week at sites throughout the metro east. Following is a brief look at some of the top teams and players to watch in the upcoming weeks.
Gibault, Triad headed for showdown at Waterloo?
The Gibault Hawks and Triad Knights have earned top four seeds in one half of the Class 2A Triad Sectional and could be headed for a showdown in the title game of the Waterloo Regional on Oct. 19.
The Hawks (11-4-4) are the No. 2 seed and will take on either seventh-seed Mascoutah or sixth-seed Highland in one of two semifinal round games on Oct. 16 at Waterloo High School. Highland (7-10) will host Mascoutah (11-11) in a first round game on Saturday. Third-seed Triad (14-5-4) will play fifth-seed Waterloo (10-8-3) in the other semifinal at the Waterloo Regional.
The title game is set for Friday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
Gibault is led by its high scoring tandem of Logan Doerr (14 goals, 10 assists, 38 points) and Karson Huels (13 goals, 10 assists, 36 points). Triad, which is battling Waterloo9 for the Mississippi Valley Conference championship heading into the final week of the regular season, is led by Grant Keller (13 goals, 10 assists, 36 points).
Alton Marquette (15-1-4) and Carbondale are the top seeds at the Triad Sectional Complex which will include winners of the (Bethalto) Civic Memorial, Waterloo, Effingham and Carbondale Regionals. The Triad Sectional will be played Oct. 23rd and 27th.
Edwardsville, Collinsville, are top hopes in Class 3A
Perennial state powers Edwardsville and Collinsville have earned the top seeds in half of the Collinsville Sectional which will be held Oct. 23rd and 26th at Collinsville High School.
Edwardsville (8-2-3) is the top seed and will take on eighth-seed Belleville West (1-14) in one of two regional semifinal games on Oct. 16 at the O’Fallon Regional. Host and third seed O’Fallon (9-7-2) is taking on fifth seed Belleville East (8-6-5) in the other semifinal with the winners meeting for the regional title on Oct. 19.
Second-seed Collinsville (12-5-2) has a top scoring tandem in Luke Liljegren (13 goals, 6 assists, 32 points) and Logan Whitehead (11 goals, 4 assists, 26 points) and will take on Southwestern Conference rival and seventh-seed Granite City (7-9-2) at the Collinsville Regional on Oct.. 16.
Fourth-seed Quincy will face sixth seed Alton (7-6-4) in the other semifinal. The regional title match is set for Oct. 20. Winners of the Collinsville, O’Fallon, Normal University and East Moline Regionals will advance to the Collinsville Sectional