The Collinsville Kahoks defeated the Normal Community Iron 2-1 on Friday in the championship match of the Class 3A Edwardsville Sectional.
The game marked the fifth time in six years that the teams had met at that stage of the postseason, and for the fifth time it was the Kahoks who came out on top.
Alynnah O’Leary scored for the Kahoks in the first half, and Tayler Devine tallied in the second to give Collinsville a 2-0 lead by the time Alyssa Frazier scored for the Iron with 7:51 to go.
Normal would not threaten again, as Collinsville sewed up a third consecutive sectional title game victory over the Iron.
“This never gets old,” said Collinsville coach Clay Smith, whose team also defeated Normal in sectional title matches in 2011 and 2012. “Normal’s a great team, and it seems like we always meet them at some point in the postseason.
“It takes a great effort by us each time to beat them.”
The victory moves Collinsville (18-6-1) into the Normal Super-Sectional against the winner of a Saturday sectional championship between Orland Park Sandburg (14-5-1) and Lincoln-Way West (15-6-2). The super-sectional is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The Kahoks dominated by using their aggressive offense to keep the high-scoring Iron hemmed in on its own end of the field for most of the match.
Normal, which came into the contest averaging more than five goals per game, managed just seven shots. Collinsville goalie Morgan Lerch finished with three saves.
“Collinsville is one of the best offensive teams I have seen at this level,” said Iron coach Matt Chapman, whose team bows out at 22-3. “They have the pieces and system in place, where even when you play good defense for most of the game, they’re going to find a way. They’ve got great players; they’re a great team. I hope they take it.”
O’Leary’s goal came with 2:39 left in the first half, when Andrea Frerker and Emily Holten initiated some offense deep in Normal’s end of the field.
“Andrea got it to Emily, who was able to beat her defender on the side and slot a pass across the box” said O’Leary, who has a team-high 21 goals for the Kahoks. “The goalie got a hand on it, but dropped it, and I was there to tap it in.”
Although Normal was able to muster a little pressure in the early minutes of the second half, it was Collinsville that added to its lead a little more than 10 minutes into the second half when Devine lasered a shot from just under 10 yards out over the outstretched hands of Iron goalkeeper Emma Spader.
“I knew I had her beat, so I just turned and let it rip,” said Devine, who has scored six goals this season.
The Iron got their lone goal when Frazier broke loose just inside midfield and came in alone against Lerch, beating her with a shot to her left.
“We can’t manage to get a shutout to save our lives,” said Smith, whose team has actually posted 10 shutouts “That (goal) probably was on us. We let Frazier get loose. She’s a good player, and she is going to finish.”
The sectional title is the third in a row for the Kahoks. A year ago, Collinsville went on to finish second in the state. They placed fourth in 2015.
“This is great for our school, after winning our sophomore and junior years,” said O’Leary. “We really want to get back to state.”