Althoff maintained its fast start to the soccer season Wednesday as it downed O’Fallon 2-0 at Southwestern Illinois College, its second win over the Panthers in six days.
Senior Amanda Kaltwasser and freshman Liesl Whitener scored one goal apiece in the second half for the Crusaders, who have opened with three wins in their first four games.
“We weren’t as good in this game as the last time we played them,” said Crusaders coach Juergen Huettner, whose team also defeated the Panthers 2-0 in the Metro Cup Tournament on March 16 in Columbia. “Maybe playing on grass on a windy day. But by the same token, I felt we were the better team. I think 2-0 is a fair score today.”
Whitener also assisted on Kaltwasser’s goal at 49:13, while sophomore Emelia O’Neill assisted on Whitener’s goal at 57:36.
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The Panthers, who were dangerous on offense at several points during the game, fell to 2-2.
“We had our chances. We had some very good opportunities,” O’Fallon coach Craig Dippel said. “It was 0-0 at the half. I don’t think anybody overly dominated the half. Even in the second half, I don’t think anybody overly dominated. We got caught up a little bit more on their (first goal).
“Right now, we’re looking for a little bit of luck. The ball’s not bouncing in the back of the net for us. I like the effort. I thought we played a decent game.”
The Panthers were threatening less than 10 minutes into the second half, but a shot from the left side by senior Lauren Cooper sailed high and outside the right post.
Just 59 seconds later, Whitener’s throw-in from the left side went to the feet of Kaltwasser, whose 20-yard blast went past oncoming senior goalie Bri Honma and into the net.
“Their transition game was good, and we got caught up,” Dippel said. “I don’t know if we got caught on our heels or not. It was bang-bang, and it was 1-0. That first goal gave Althoff a little more energy.”
Kaltwasser has three goals this season.
“I saw an opening, went toward it, the goalie came out, and I just hit it near post,” said Kaltwasser, who has signed to play at Division II Maryville University in St. Louis. “We needed to get things going. We were hitting a lot (of shots) over (the goal), and I was hitting a lot (of shots) to the goalie.”
Whitener’s hard shot from 25 yards out on a feed from O’Neill boosted the lead to two. Honma got her hands on the shot, but the ball popped into the air. By the time Honma controlled it, she was over the goal line, and the referee credited the score.
The Crusaders’ defense and junior goalie Rachel Monken did the rest.
Whitener has four goals to lead the Crusaders.
“It’s definitely an experience,” Whitener said of playing on the varsity level as a freshman. “I’m nervous most of the time, but it’s fun. It’s good to get out there.”
The shutout was the third in four games for Monken. She has made 39 saves.
Whitener was a consistent threat up the left side of the field, something Huettner already is accustomed to seeing four games into the season.
“She has a good foot, and hopefully she’s going to use it more and more,” Huettner said. “She’s a superb soccer player, but sometimes it takes a while to get used to it. But I think she’s doing a good job for us. She makes us better.”
Huettner also credited the play of O’Neill and senior Jackie Minor in the midfield.