Belleville West junior goalie Bailey Redden preserved an early Maroons lead with a diving save on a shot from Belleville East junior Grace Brauer late in the first half and the Maroons defense did the rest in a 2-0 win over the Lancers in the Class 3A Belleville West girls soccer regional.
The third seed entering the postseason and on nine game winning streak, West (15-3-2) broke out on top with 15:44 remaining in the first half on a goal by freshman Gabby Holtrop.
Redden, who had not allowed more than one goal during the Maroons streak, turned in the play of the game when the high-scoring Brauer was stopped from point blank range less than four minutes later.
“Bailey has done that for us all year. We go up 1-0 on a nice goal by Gabby (Holtrop) and East comes right back a couple minutes later with a change at tying the game and she (Redden) makes a save that is a game-changing play,” Maroons coach Jason Mathenia said. “You just hope she gets recognized when its time to vote for all district and all state. She is very deserving of those honors.”
Taylor Mathenia added a goal with about 32 minutes remaining for the Maroons, who advance into the regional title game on Friday to play Southwestern Conference rival and second-seed Edwardsville.
Belleville East (8-10-3) battled their city rivals even for the first 24 minutes until sophomore Courtney Vollmer lofted a corner kick in front of the Lancers net where Holtrop headed the ball past Lancers goalie Grace Tantillo for the first goal of the game.
East had a couple of chances to get on the scoreboard in the second half but couldn’t get the ball past Redden.
“That’s been our history this year. We give up an early goal and we can’t get even,’’ East coach Andy Bohanan said. “It was a disappointing finish.”
Edwardsville 2, O’Fallon 0
Senior Abigail Crabtree and sophomore Paityn Schneider scored goals late in the first half and the Tigers went on for a 2-0 win over the Panthers.
After missing on several good scoring chances early, Crabtree scored with 12 minutes left in the first half and Schneider added a second tally five minutes later.
“I thought we left some scoring chances out there tonight,” Edwardsville coach Abby Comerford said. “Give O’Fallon credit. They are a great team and they played hard all the way until the end.”