After seeing its eight-game unbeaten streak end on Saturday at the St. Louis Soccer Classic, the Collinsville Kahoks got back on track on Tuesday. And senior Mikayla McCarthy was smiling once again.
One of the premier players in the St. Louis area the past two years, McCarthy scored of a nifty assist from midfielder Sophia Sharos just eight minutes into the game and Collinsville never looked back as it went on for an easy 5-1 win over O’Fallon in a battle of the top two teams in the Southwestern Conference.
Cornered in by two Panthers defenders right in front of the O’Fallon bench, Sharos threaded a pass between two players to McCarthy who after getting the ball, broke into the clear and beat Panthers goalie Sydney Brake with a shot from point blank range to give the Kahoks (8-1-1, 4-0) the lead for good.
McCarthy then returned the favor five minutes later when she broke through the Kahoks defense, then shuffled a soft pass to Sharos, who easily beat Brake with a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net with 26 minutes left in the opening half.
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Recently committed to attend Southwestern Illinois College, McCarthy added a second goal early in the second half as the Kahoks regained their three goal advantage.
O’Fallon (6-2-3) had no response as it dropped to 2-1 in SWC play.
“Mikayla is one of the seniors I’m really going to miss next year. She’s a free spirit who always seems to be smiling and having fun playing soccer. She was smiling tonight,’’ Collinsville coach Clay Smith said. “I was pleased at how we came out and got that early goal. We were very offensive minded and we put a lot of pressure on their (O’Fallon’s) defense from the outset.
“This is a big win for us. The Southwestern Conference, I feel, is one of the top soccer conferences in the state and we beat a very good soccer team tonight in O’Fallon.’’
Sophomore Alynnah O’Leary increased the Collinsville advantage to three goals when she took another good pass from the right side of the field and scored on a head ball with just under seven ninutes left in the first half.
“We have a lot of girls who can put the ball in the back of the net,’’ Smith said. “We had a real crisp practice session yesterday (Monday) where we worked on spacing. Tonight our spacing was very good. We were able to move the ball and because of that we had quite a few good scoring opportunities.
“Defense, which may have been a concern when the season started, continued to be solid. Our back four have done a good job. They (O’Fallon) didn’t have many good scoring chances.’’
Trailing 3-0, O’Fallon finally got on the scoreboard with under three minutes left in the first half, Senior Elaine Gorom booted a free kick on goal that Kahoks goalie Morgan Lerch blocked, but couldn’t control. Senior Tori Weiss then calmly scored on the rebound to give O’Fallon its lone goal of the night.
“In the past few games we have had a lot of good scoring chances that we just hadn’t been able to convert on. Tonight, we didn’t many chances at all,’’ Panthers coach Craig Dippel said. “We just didn’t move as well as we needed too. I thought we played a little better in the second half.’’
McCarthy made it 4-1 with her second goal of the game, this one coming with 28 minutes remaining. Emily Holten rounded out Collinsville’s scoring with under 10 minutes left.