Jamey Bridges tried to find the words to say to a heartbroken Columbia girls soccer team that expected to play for one more weekend.
A goal in the 44th minute by Quincy Notre Dame’s Olivia Dreyer was the difference as Columbia’s season ended in a 1-0 loss in Tuesday’s Class 1A QND Super-sectional at Advance Physical Therapy Field. It snapped a 12-game winning streak that dated back to a 1-0 setback to Belleville West on April 7.
Bridges knew whatever he said might go unheard.
“It hurts now, but when they reflect over the next few days they’ll realize we did a lot of good things,” Bridges said. “They don’t hear any of that right now. It’s just pain.”
It was the first goal the Eagles allowed since an 8-1 victory over Anna-Jonesboro on April 27.
QND (22-1-1), meanwhile, clinches its first state tournament berth since 2013 when it finished off winning back-to-back Class 1A titles.
“The hardest thing you can do when you go down is get away from your gameplan,” Bridges said. “We just tried to stick with what got us here.”
Columbia (19-3-1) had chances to answer after QND went ahead.
A free kick from about 25 yards away by Madelyne Juenger came up empty nine minutes later. Two minutes after that, Blair Wittenbrink had a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box saved by QND goalkeeper Delaney Walker.
With about eight minutes remaining, Columbia’s Kennedy Jones — who entered the game with a team-high 22 goals on the season — had a touch off the ball on the edge of the box and looked ready to take a shot, but QND defender Molly Penn poked the ball away.
“You need a break sometimes,” Bridges said. “We didn’t get that. It’s unfortunate.”
The Eagles couldn’t muster a serious scoring threat after that.
“When the pressure’s put on you to perform (QND) showed up,” QND coach Mark Longo said. “Both teams had good chances.”
Columbia had the first serious scoring chance of the game.
Just past the 10-minute mark, Wittenbrink beat a QND defender down the right side and cut into the box. She fired a shot, but it hit into the side of the net.
Columbia finished with 11 shots, and goalkeeper Rylee Iorio made seven saves.
QND had 13 shots, and Walker had six saves.
“At the end of the day, you just have to tip the cap because they were the better team today,” Bridges said. “It’s unfortunate. But it is what it is.”