Althoff’s soccer team fell behind early Tuesday but finished strong in the semifinals of the Class 1A Greenville Regional.
The second-seeded Crusaders trailed 1-0 early in the first half against the host Comets, seeded seventh. A penalty shot by senior Stephen Waltrip, after junior Jimmy Monken was taken down in the box, tied the game at 1 less than 10 minutes later. Waltrip’s goal was his team-high 10th of the season.
Junior Dillon Birdsong scored the go-ahead goal that made it 2-1 in the first minute of the second half, and junior Christian Garcia capped the Crusaders’ scoring with a pair of goals that settled the issue.
Althoff (8-11-2) will face third-seeded Wood River, which defeated Metro-East Lutheran 2-1 in the other semifinal Tuesday, in the championship game at 4 p.m. Friday. The winner will advance to the Gibault Sectional next Tuesday.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
“It’s never a good feeling to be down in a postseason game,” Althoff coach Skip Birdsong said of his team’s early deficit. “We were a little flat to start the game. Not taking anything away from what (Greenville) did, but I had to think it was like, ‘OK, we’ve got to pick this up a little bit.’ Thankfully, we were able to settle down and put a couple in the back of the net.”
Sophomores Riley Sullivan and Stone Galloway played goalie for Althoff. Sullivan was replaced by Galloway after being involved in a collision with a Greenville player in the first half.
Garcia’s goals were his first two of the season.
“Christian’s a good player,” Birdsong said. “He’s had some injury stuff this year and some other things going on, so he’s not always on the field. But he’s a good player and he showed it tonight. It was a good feeling to get out of here with a win.”
Top-seeded Mater Dei had no difficulty in its semifinal of the Class 1A Carlyle Regional, blanking Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran 8-0. The game was stopped about midway through the second half.
The Knights (12-6-2) will play in the title game at 11 a.m. Saturday against the winner of the semifinal at 4 p.m. Wednesday between fourth-seeded Wesclin and seventh-seeded Carlyle. Mater Dei defeated Wesclin 8-0 in the regular season. It did not play Carlyle.
Mater Dei led 5-0 at halftime.
“You don’t necessarily see good soccer from either team (in a blowout), but you get the job done and move on,” Knights coach James Arnold said.
Junior Drew Toennies had two goals and three assists and junior Jon Dailey had a hat trick. Junior Nathan Perkes, sophomore Max Harad and senior Andrew Lewis each had a goal.
Massac County Regional
Second-seeded Central fell behind 1-0 against the host Patriots, seeded sixth, in the Class 1A Massac County Regional. But the Cougars scored three unanswered goals in a 3-1 win.
Central (13-5-1) will play No. 3 Mount Carmel or No. 5 Murphysboro in the title game at 3 p.m. Saturday. Mount Carmel and Murphysboro meet in the other semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.