It’s been a tough physical season for Gibault High senior Carley Olson.
But Olson, a forward who has been slowed by a left quadriceps injury, was rewarded Saturday for her perseverance when she scored all of the Hawks’ goals in their come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Althoff in the championship game of the Class 1A Anna-Jonesboro Regional.
The game was played at Fralish Soccer Complex in Carbondale.
“It feels great,” said Olson, whose nine goals are second on the team behind senior Abby Hasenstab’s 10. “I strained my quad the first game of the season, so it’s been struggling the whole time. But it feels great to just push through and actually get the win.”
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Olson finished (her opportunities) off. She singlehandedly kind of beat us. You could tell they wanted it really bad. They worked hard. It’s a tough loss for us, but you can’t say it’s undeserving or anything. They played hard and had the heart.
Althoff girls soccer coach Juergen Huettner on Carley Olson and the Gibault Hawks
It didn’t feel so great for Althoff.
“Olson finished (her opportunities) off. She singlehandedly kind of beat us,” said Crusaders coach Juergen Huettner, whose team finished 10-9-2.
“You could tell (Gibault) wanted it really bad. They worked hard. It’s a tough loss for us, but you can’t say it’s undeserving or anything. They played hard and had the heart.”
Gibault (9-10), which lost to Althoff 2-1 on April 23 at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, advanced to the Althoff Sectional and will play Marquette (11-9-3) in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at McKendree University in Lebanon. Marquette, which won the Marquette Regional on Friday with a 2-1 win over Roxana, defeated Gibault 5-0 on April 26 in Alton.
Olson did not play in the previous game against Marquette.
“They’re going to think it’s easy because they beat us 5-0 earlier in the season,” said Hasenstab, who had injury troubles of her own Saturday. “But they don’t know what’s coming for them. We have heart whenever we play in postseason, and it’s amazing.”
First-year Gibault coach Hanna Schuermann credited Olson.
“She has to work very hard to keep herself healthy,” Schuermann said. “She’s been phenomenal. Even this year when she’s on the bench, she’s our 12th man. Whether she’s on the bench or on the field, she’s a big part of our team.”
Althoff built a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals by sophomore Jessica Hoffman and senior Shannon Maitland. Hoffman scored in front at 24 minutes, 26 seconds after a mad scramble in the box. Maitland hit a low shot that eluded Hawks senior goalie Abbie Meyer at 33:31.
Both Althoff goals came with a strong wind at its back.
She has to work very hard to keep herself healthy. She’s been phenomenal. Even this year when she’s on the bench, she’s our 12th man. Whether she’s on the bench or on the field, she’s a big part of our team.
Gibault girls soccer coach Hanna Schuermann on senior Carley Olson
Moments later, Hasenstab and Crusaders sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Monken violently collided in front of the goal line after a shot by Hasenstab. The ball bounced free and Olson was there to clean it up and get Gibault within 2-1 at 34:51.
The goal proved to a game-changer because it came against the wind.
“We went up 2-0 and I thought we had the better of the play,” Huettner said. “We probably should have had a bigger lead than that. (Olson’s first goal) came out of nowhere. The ball bounces loose and Olson was in the right place at the right time and it was 2-1.
“Then we knew in the second half it was going to be a game. As soon as they made it 2-1, you knew there was trouble coming our way. ... We just couldn’t put them away.”
Hasenstab injured her right leg on the play, but was able to return to the action.
Olson knotted the game off a corner kick at 49:18, scoring from deep in the box after an initial shot by sophomore Abby Phelps.
PKs always terrify me. I’m not going to lie. It’s definitely a head game. I picked the right corner and I just went with it.
Gibault senior Carley Olson on her game-winning penalty kick Saturday against Althoff
Althoff was turned away twice during a three-minute span, once on a strong save by Meyer against sophomore Sophie Monken, before the Hawks took the lead for good.
Hasenstab made a run on the left side, gained a step on her defender and was taken down in the box as she attempted a shot. A foul was called and Olson finished the penalty kick to into the right corner make it 3-2 at 68:15.
“PKs always terrify me. I’m not going to lie,” Olson said. “It’s definitely a head game. I picked the right corner and I just went with it.”
Schuermann said the difference in the game, in addition to Olson’s heroics, was the defensive job turned in by senior Monica Shuler against Maitland.
Maitland, a University of Mississippi recruit, scored five goals in the last three games and made it six goals in four games when she scored to make it 2-0.
“We knew going into this that she was their star. She was the reason that they have so much success,” Schuermann said. “Monica Shuler shut her down. That was a big change. She worked her butt off to do that. Monica deserves all the credit. We knew we had to be aware of where (Maitland) was at all points of the game.”