High School Sports

Edwardsville goalie Riley stars in PKs as Tigers defeat O’Fallon for regional title

Trey Riley experienced a goalkeeper’s dream Saturday night.

Riley made two saves on penalty kicks, then delivered the clinching PK as Edwardsville toppled O’Fallon 2-1 in the championship game of the Class 3A Edwardsville Regional.

Riley, a senior, stonewalled shots by seniors Matt Benway and Jeffery Pratt, then connected on the penalty kick that made it 4-2 and sealed the outcome. The penalty-kicks period followed two scoreless 10-minute overtime sessions.

“Nothing beats saving them. The odds are against you, really,” said Riley, a pitcher who has verbally committed to play baseball at Oklahoma State. “A big part of it is body language, watching (the shooters’) hips and watching their walk-up. You’ve got to make some noise and make yourself look large, and once you pick a (direction), you’ve just got to go with it.”

The victory sends Edwardsville (12-6-4) into the semifinals of the Collinsville Sectional. The Tigers will face Quincy (15-3-2) at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Blue Devils outscored Collinsville 4-3 in penalty kicks to register a 1-0 victory Saturday in the title game of the Quincy Regional.

“PKs are just something you have to be prepared for,” Edwardsville coach Mark Heiderscheid said. “But at the same time, it’s a really odd part of the game. This year, there’s no question that we have a fantastic player that can make saves in a PK shootout, and we’ve got 12 guys who can shoot PKs. We’re very good with that scenario.”

Watching Riley in action under the pressure of PKs, Heiderscheid said, was magical.

“Trey’s an exceptional keeper on the PK shootout,” he said. “He’s got great height (6-foot-2), his wingspan is superb, his hops ... From the minute he stands in there, he’s imposing. But his ability to get from side to side is incredible. We really haven’t had that. You have to go back to Matt Evers in the ’90s before you have a guy as good at PKs as Trey Riley is.”

O’Fallon, which tied Edwardsville 1-1 in two overtimes in the regular season, finished 13-8-1. The Panthers have lost eight in a row to the Tigers in the postseason.

“Riley made two good saves,” said O’Fallon coach Jason Turkington, pointing out that the Panthers were unable to use junior Austin Wilkerson, who was kicked in the left eye during the closing seconds of regulation as the Panthers scrambled for a late goal. “He’s one of our top five PK-shooters, but we had five good shooters and five seniors.”

Turkington said the loss hit him hard, particularly the disappointment of his 10 seniors.

“With all due respect to my previous 14 years, this group of guys is the best group of guys I’ve had,” he said. “It’s tough to see them lose and end their careers and their season because of this. ... This group has dealt with a lot of adversity and it’s tough to see for them.”

Edwardsville senior Max Kieffer put the Tigers on top 1-0 at 3 minutes, 39 seconds when he took a pass from freshman Bryce Glisson, beat two defenders, toe-tapped the ball around Panthers junior keeper Joe Guithues and scored into an empty net.

O’Fallon tied the game at 32:34 on senior Jake Koenig’s penalty kick that followed a foul by Edwardsville senior Austin Toby in the upper-left corner of the box.

Sophomore Daniel Hentz opened the PK period with a goal to put Edwardsville ahead 1-0. Riley then knocked out Benway’s shot, and Glisson scored to put the Tigers up 2-0.

Riley followed with his save on Pratt, and sophomore Alec Mills converted to put Edwardsville ahead 3-0. Koenig then scored for O’Fallon to make it 3-1, and Guithues extended his excellent game in the net by saving a shot by Tigers sophomore Bayne Noll.

Senior Nathan Lanter hit his PK to bring O’Fallon within 3-2, but Riley ended the proceedings by ripping a shot into the lower-left side of the goal.

“Trey is very good and he’s confident, so it’s apropo that he’s the one who takes the fifth (shot),” Heiderscheid said. “Like I say, we got 12 deep in the PK shootout if we need to, which we can’t. Trey being one of them, you wouldn’t have to use him, but he’s very good.”

Guithues helped get the game to overtime with three incredible saves. The first came at 57:19, when he leaped high to tip out a strong shot from the right side by junior Mohammad Hamad.

Guithues made another nice save in front of the right post five minutes later on Noll’s attempt, then went to his knees to control a low shot by Kieffer at 76:18. 

David Wilhelm: 618-239-2665, @DavidMWilhelm