Monroe County pride will be on the line Tuesday when Columbia’s and Gibault’s girls soccer teams meet at 7 p.m. in the semifinals of the Class 1A Columbia Sectional.
Columbia (11-7) took down Wesclin and Althoff last week to win the Columbia Regional, while Gibault (7-9) ripped Harrisburg and Anna-Jonesboro to win the Gibault Regional.
Columbia and Gibault did not meet in the regular season.
“We like the opportunity that we have to play them,” Columbia coach Steve Ross said. “We know it’s a rivalry game. They’ll come ready to play, but we look for these opportunities. We’ve got some experience going from the sectional last year. We want to continue to ride that.
“That first (regional) game was a little bit of a wakeup call for us. Now I feel like we’re really kicking on all cylinders. Hopefully, we’ll continue with that mind-set.”
The Hawks, meanwhile, are hurting after their victory over Anna-Jonesboro on Saturday. They could be without three injured players: junior Robyn Lindsey and senior Rachel Kuerz are questionable and junior Paige Lane is done for the season with an ACL tear.
Last year, Gibault entered the sectional with six starters out of action.
“Hopefully, we can put a somewhat healthy team on the field and give ourselves a chance,” Hawks coach Matt Reeb said. “If I can put Robyn and Rachel on the field, I like our chances. If I can’t, we’re going to have to play a pretty good game. They’re a good team; they have a lot of speed. That’s a big factor.”
The Columbia-Gibault winner will play the Marquette Explorers or the Mater Dei Knights in the championship game at 6 p.m. Friday. Marquette (13-5-3), the defending sectional champion, will play the Knights (16-4-3) in the other semifinal at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The teams met April 4 at Gordon Moore Park in Alton, where Marquette won 2-0.
Mater Dei won the Olney Regional last week with shutout wins over Salem and the host Tigers. Marquette advanced from the Civic Memorial Regional with victories over Wood River and Civic Memorial.
The numbers game
Seniors Lauren Kaempfe and Lauren Tolan lead Columbia’s attack. Kaempfe, who has three goals in the last two games, has 15 goals and six assists this season. Tolan has 11 goals and three assists and sophomore Morgan Glaenzer has nine goals and two assists. Casey Wood, a senior, leads the Eagles with eight assists and also has chipped in with eight goals.
For Gibault, juniors Carley Olson (14 goals, six assists), Abby Hasenstab (12 goals, eight assists) and Maddie O’Neill (seven goals, eight assists) lead the way.
Mater Dei relies on scoring from Melanie Mensing (16 goals, four assists) and Macey Endres (13 goals, eight assists). Senior Hope Huelsmann (eight goals, six assists) is a mainstay on offense, and senior Grace Chiarolanza tops the Knights with 10 assists along with six goals.
Nineteen different players have scored goals for Marquette, led by 10 apiece from senior Kate Sanfilippo and junior Adriana Schindler. Sanfilippo also has 17 assists.
Pick to click
Columbia, with its blend of experience and speed, is playing at a high level and could be poised to avenge its 3-2 loss on penalty kicks to Marquette in the Columbia Sectional semifinals last season. The Eagles would like nothing more than to duplicate the Class 1A state championship won last fall by the boys team.
Class 2A playoffs
The Class 2A postseason begins Tuesday as Waterloo will host the regional tournament that involves four teams from the Mississippi Valley Conference.
The host Bulldogs (19-3), seeded second, will face third-seeded Highland (8-11-1) at 6:30 p.m., following the opening semifinal at 4:30 between top-seeded Triad (16-5) and Mascoutah (6-13-2). Triad won the MVC championship, finishing 10-0.
The championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday.
Top players in the Waterloo Regional include: junior Erika Lloyd (16 goals, 12 assists) and freshman Sydney Luedeman (13 goals, eight assists) of Waterloo; senior Morgan Sikora (19 goals, two assists) of Highland; junior Allison Wendt (11 goals, 12 assists) and sophomore Meaghan Smith (14 goals, three assists) of Triad; and junior Rylee Cravens (seven goals, eight assists) of Mascoutah.
Pick to click
It’s difficult to envision a championship game other than Triad facing Waterloo. The Knights already have beaten the Bulldogs 3-1 and 1-0. Triad will have to dig deep to win a third game against Waterloo, but it is familiar with what will be required to pull it off.