High School Sports

Collinsville pulls away in second half, defeats Althoff

Althoff’s early momentum didn’t last long Wednesday.

Senior Donovan Gagen scored less than two minutes into the game, but senior Luis De Anda answered five minutes later with the first of his two goals that sparked the Collinsville Kahoks to a 3-1 victory over the Crusaders in a nonconference game.

“It was hard to get it back, but we worked hard,” said De Anda, whose three goals lead Collinsville. “Althoff is a good team ... but we’ve got a good team, too.”

The Kahoks, who defeated Marquette 5-0 in their season opener on Monday, improved to 2-0. Althoff, which thrashed Wesclin 10-0 in its opener Monday, fell to 1-1.

De Anda put the Kahoks ahead to stay with a goal at 69 minutes, 11 seconds, making a long run with the ball and slipping it past freshman goalie Ryan Sullivan to make it 2-1. The Kahoks clinched the outcome on a goal by senior Drake Barker with 18 seconds to play.

The Crusaders played one man short for most of the game. Althoff senior keeper Stephen Toenjes was issued a red card at 15:28 when he came out of the box and tackled Collinsville senior Eric Tejada on a breakaway.

Sullivan replaced Toenjes and made an impressive diving save to his right on the ensuing free kick by De Anda, and a shot by Barker went off the crossbar.

“I think it was a good decision on Stephen’s part to come out (of the goal),” Althoff coach Joe Burchett said. “There was no intent to hurt that player (Tejada). We know that player. He hoped to block it. It looked like he just clipped Eric. There was no intent to hurt him. I don’t disagree with the referee’s call. It is what it is. ... I think he thought he could get it, and then at the last minute, he realized he couldn’t.

“I think after that, we played harder because we knew we were a man down. There was a lot of heart and effort from lots of boys. I thought we did very well. I felt a little like we gifted them two goals. I don’t know that they earned two of the goals. ... Overall, I’m pretty tickled and I think the boys are proud of their effort.”

Collinsville coach Clay Smith said the referee made the correct call on Toenjes, who will have to sit out one game.

“A goalie’s got to make a decision whether he comes out or not come out. That’s part of being a goalkeeper,” Smith said. “But he didn’t get the ball. He got the entire player. I think (Tejada) was already around him. I think the reason for the decision was because our player got to the ball first and already touched the ball around him. The goalie came a little late. He got his legs. In my eyes, that is a red. He saved a goal.”

Smith credited Althoff for keeping the score tied at 1-1 for so long, despite being a man down.

“Hats off to Althoff,” Smith said. “They did a great job defending once that happened and their backup goalkeeper made some good saves. We made it easy on him a little bit. We had quality chances, but we put a lot of them right at him. We had four hit the post, we had at least 15 shots on goal, we changed our formation, we pushed numbers up. We did everything we could possibly do to put the ball in the back of the net, but they were resilient.”

Freshman Mitchell Kidd assisted on Althoff’s goal, feeding Gagen on the left side for a shot that eluded junior keeper Brett Niedzwiecki and rolled just inside the left post at 1:36.

“The goal was our mistake, 100 percent our mistake,” Smith said. “We had a mistouch in the back, and you can’t do that with a good player like they have up top like that. He’ll punish you, and he did.”

De Anda chipped a shot past a charging Toenjes and impatiently watched it roll into the net just before Althoff senior defender Will Dall could get to it to make a clearing attempt. That drew the Kahoks into a 1-1 tie at 6:38.

“That ball slow-rolled and slow-rolled,” Burchett said, “and I really thought Will was going to clip it off the line. But it was just out of reach.”

Collinsville junior Brendan Peterson hit the right post with a shot in the 52nd minute, keeping the game knotted. Gagen’s free kick was high three minutes later.

Gagen nearly scored in the 68th minute, but Niedzwiecki made a kick save. Two minutes later, Tejada’s header went off the left post.

“We were the faster team,” Smith said. “I think eventually, (Althoff) just wore down and it was a matter of time before we found the back of the net.”

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 618-239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.