Heavy rain was falling Tuesday night, but the weather conditions were perfect for Collinsville senior Tayler Devine.
Devine scored the Kahoks’ first goal just three minutes into their 2-1 victory over the Edwardsville Tigers in the semifinals of the Class 3A Edwardsville Sectional.
“I like playing in the rain,” Devine said, while acknowledging the difficulty it creates in controlling the ball. “That’s the fun part. That’s why I like it.”
The Kahoks also got a first-half goal from senior Andrea Frerker and reached the championship game, which will be played at 6 p.m. Friday. Collinsville (17-6-1) will play the winner of the other semifinal, to be played at 5 p.m. Wednesday, between Minooka and Normal.
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Edwardsville, which also lost to the Kahoks 1-0 on March 23, finished 13-4-2.
“It’s a battle,” Collinsville coach Clay Smith said. “We didn’t play all that well, though. We did some very good things at the beginning of the game, but like a very good Edwardsville Tigers soccer team, they countered and settled down and played their game.
“It was a great playoff-atmosphere game. I think it’s a good learning point for us. We live to fight another day, and we move on.”
Devine’s goal came from 30 yards out, but Frerker’s goal at 23:38 topped it. The all-state midfielder hit a rocket from 35 yards away that forced Edwardsville sophomore goalie Regan Windau to leap high, only to get her fingers on the ball before it settled into the back of the net.
“I didn’t realize how far out I was,” Frerker said. “I had the opportunity to take (the shot). That’s one thing I haven’t been doing lately when I have an opportunity to shoot it. It came, so I took it. I was very excited. It was a big goal.”
The game tightened in the second half when Edwardsville senior Taylor Hansen’s free kick from the left side, also from about 35 yards out, skimmed off the wet surface and got past Kahoks senior keeper Morgan Lerch at 44:37 to make it 2-1.
Collinsville had a couple of chances to regain its two-goal lead but was unable to convert.
Edwardsville had possession of the ball in the final minute with freshman Sydni Stevens and senior Abigail Crabtree pushing forward into Collinsville territory.
But the referee stopped play and issued a red card to Tigers junior Megan Bowman after she was tripped by Bowman with 50 seconds to play. That effectively ended the contest with Edwardsville down one player.
“It was unfortunate,” Tigers coach Abby Comerford said of the referee’s ruling. “He just said that she intentionally tripped him. That’s what I got.
“The girls played hard that last 40 minutes. We had a few hiccups in the first half, and (Collinsville) capitalized on them. That was kind of the story of the game. We lost our marks on those two goals, and they capitalized on them.”