Althoff stuck to its winning formula Friday.
The Crusaders scored three goals in a 15-minute span in the first half and defeated Wood River 3-0 in the championship game of the Class 1A Greenville Regional.
Junior Stephen Waltrip, who had two goals in Althoff’s 4-0 victory over Greenville in the semifinals Tuesday, opened the scoring with a 25-yard free kick at 10 minutes, 53 seconds.
From there, the floodgates opened as senior Justin Robinson scored at 14:20 and sophomore Jimmy Monken nailed a penalty kick at 25:51 after being fouled in the box.
“If we can come out and get a goal right away, it sort of can set the tone,” Crusaders coach Joe Burchett said. “ If we can get two, it really puts the other team on its heels. They really have to scrap to find a goal. Then I think once the third one came ... (Wood River) did fight, but maybe the last 20 minutes, I think the fight was over.”
Senior Stephen Toenjes earned the shutout in goal as the Crusaders (10-10-3) advanced to the Gibault Sectional. Althoff will meet Mater Dei (16-3-3) in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Oerter Park in Columbia. The teams played to a scoreless tie Sept. 26 in Belleville.
Waltrip scored the only goal Althoff needed when he bent a shot around the Oilers’ disorganized wall and off the hands of sophomore keeper D.J. Redden.
Redden was starting for senior Nick Barrett, who suffered a broken bone in his right hand Tuesday in a 3-2 victory in two overtimes over Metro-East Lutheran.
“He’s familiar with (goalkeeping) at the JV level,” Wood River coach Mike Lawson said of Redden. “But 7 (Monken), 9 (Waltrip) and 14 (Robinson) are, by far, a different caliber than our keeper, D.J., had ever seen.
“The PK, our keeper got his hands on it. The shot from 14, he got his hands on it. And the first one, our wall wasn’t set right. Like most left-footed player, they for whatever reason can bend the ball better than anybody. It kills me how they do that. With our normal goalie in, I think we’re going with them straight-up and probably would have had a better chance.”
Wood River finished 16-5-1.
Burchett is elated with the production he is getting from his midfield of Waltrip and Robinson in the middle and the persistent Monken on the wing. But that’s not all.
“We also had contributions from Jacob Petry on the outside, Tyler Stone on the outside gave us good minutes and I was able to put Dillon Birdsong back on defense for a while,” Burchett said. “And when I moved Alex Langenstein from back to outside mid in the second half, we got crosses out of Alex and he made a huge difference.”
Mater Dei 1, Massac County 0 (PKs): The Knights outscored Massac County 4-3 in penalty kicks to win the Carlyle Regional and advance into the Gibault Sectional and a rematch with Althoff.
Senior Nick Pollmann hit the-game winning penalty kick for Mater Dei. Junior Brandon Billhartz, senior Cade Breed and junior Alex Loepker also hit PKs.
“Pollmann is a center back, but that works for me,” Arnold said with a laugh.
Arnold, however, didn’t have a great vibe during regulation and two 10-minute overtimes.
“The possession was probably 70-30 us, but we did nothing with it,” he said. “We had a couple of shots, but ... (Massac County) just packed it in. Nobody really had the direct shot, the direct shot from the top of the 18 right in the middle of the field. It was pretty nerve-racking.
“In the end, it’s not how you win, you just win. And you live to fight another day. It’s going to be a good game (against Althoff).”
Gibault 6, Freeburg 0: The Hawks led just 1-0 at halftime, but busted out with a second-half barrage that buried the Midgets in the championship game of the Gibault Regional.
“It was 1-0 for a long time, but we opened up the floodgates,” Gibault coach Matt Reeb said. “We went 15 minutes (in the second half) before we scored again, but then we scored four in an eight-minute span. (Freeburg) was battling and playing hard, but then they just kind of gave in mentally when we started scoring.”
Junior Dalton Scace had three goals, junior Ben Mueth had two and freshman Cameron Kincheloe also scored for the Hawks (13-9), who will play Central or Anna-Jonesboro in the Gibault Sectional semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Oerter Park. Central and Anna-Jonesboro meet at 11 a.m. Saturday in the title game of the Anna-Jonesboro Regional.
Scace and Mueth have combined for 44 goals, with Scace banging in 25.
“They keep producing for us,” Reeb said. “We love it. They’ve stepped up big this year. We’ll keep riding them. Our defense is playing well, too. It’s been rock-solid. I like where we’re at.”
Freeburg finished 9-13.