The Triad girls soccer team won the Mississippi Valley Conference this season. Now the Knights are taking aim at higher goals.
Senior Meghan Smith scored in the first half, and sophomore Katie Rogers and junior Jody Ellis added second-half goals on a soggy Tuesday night as the Knights blanked the Rochester Rockets 3-0 in the semifinals of the Class 2A Chatham Glenwood Sectional.
Triad (18-6) will meet the host Titans (17-2-1) in the championship game at 6 p.m. Friday. Chatham Glenwood nipped Waterloo 1-0 in the other semifinal.
“I thought the first half we came out a little slow,” Triad coach Matt Bettlach said. “But (that’s) typical Rochester; that’s what they do to you. They come out, and they fly.
“It took us about 10 to 15 minutes to get into the game. We settled down, moved the ball around and did some nice things. The second half, I was impressed with the way we came out and played. Right off the bat we were on top of them.”
Smith scored the only goal the Knights would need, her 12th of the season, with just 2:35 remaining in the first half. Positioned on the right side, Smith floated a 25-yard shot that found the back of the left side of the net.
“She struck that with some power,” Bettlach said.
Rogers converted a penalty kick at 58:09 to make it 2-0 — her team-leading 14th goal of the season. Ellis capped the scoring with her ninth goal in the 79th minute.
It was a gratifying win for the Knights for two reasons. Not only did it advance them into the sectional championship, but it came against the team that ended their season last year.
Rochester, which won the Class 2A state title in 2016 and the Class 1A state championship in 2015, finished 13-8-2.
“They didn’t make mistakes,” said Rockets coach Chad Kutscher, who played at McKendree University in Lebanon. “They had pretty good overall team pace. We weren’t able to get in behind their defense at all. I really thought they were rate was really high.
“We tried to come out, put them under some pressure and see how they dealt with that pressure, and we had a couple chances. If we would have scored, I think it would have energized us a little bit.”
Chatham Glenwood 1, Waterloo 0
Chatham Glenwood’s only goal came from senior Taylor Parriott in the 33rd minute. Waterloo junior goalie Bailey Bosler got her hands on a cross to the middle of the box from sophomore Carlie Smith, but couldn’t gain possession, and Parriott was there to knock it in.
“(Smith) made a good run out wide, and that was a nice cross,” Chatham Glenwood coach Jay Lipe said. “It was kind of ironic because their goalkeeper handled everything all night, then it squeezed through her hands. But good thing Taylor was right there to put it away.”
Waterloo (12-5-4) had a late threat, but a shot by junior Jessica Keller was wide with less than five minutes to play.
The game was delayed by lightning for 30 minutes in the first half. Play was stopped with 1:10 left before halftime. The game was resumed, and instead of taking a break at halftime, the teams switched sides and completed the second half with no interruptions.