The Collinsville Kahoks came back from a nearly two-week hiatus from actual competition with fresh legs for round one of another postseason run.
By contrast, it’s been a struggle for O’Fallon just to put a healthy 11 players on the field.
The differences stood out in the Kahoks’ 8-1 win over O’Fallon on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Collinsville Class 3A Regional Tournament.
“We’ve had 13 days off between now and our last regular-season game, so the girls were pretty anxious to get on the field and go a full 11-v-11,” Collinsville coach Clay Smith said. “In training the most we could do seven-on-seven. So it was good to see some fresh legs.”
Collinsville (17-1-2), the top seed in its sub-sectional, will play host to Alton (12-5-3) for the regional championship at 5 p.m. Saturday.The Redbirds defeated Belleville East 2-1 in the other semifinal Wednesday.
The Kahoks got goals from seven different players. Junior forward Emily Holten scored the pair.
Holten scored to put the Kahoks up 1-0 at the 4:41 mark. That score held until Courtney Marten, Alyannah O’Leary and Jalyn Richardson added goals within three minutes of each other to make it 4-0 at 23:03.
“We have the weapons to do that, we just have to have the right balls and keep working hard,” Smith said. “You could tell we were a little sluggish early with some offsides in the first half. We timed our runs and were a little off and just played a little lazy. But we cleaned it up and I think we looked really good overall.”
Junior Lauren Cooper scored O’Fallon’s lone goal, but Holten, Andrea Frerker and Cortez-Perez Bianca made it 7-1 by halftime.
A goal by Dayle McEwen at 47:58 made it a seven-goal game and, by rule, took half of the remaining time off the clock.
O’Fallon’s season ends with a record of 5-11-4.
“Throughout the year we had four concussions, two season-ending knee injuries and lost two other players for significant amounts of time,” Panthers coach Craig Dippel said. “It’s not an excuse, but it has an effect on how you train and prepare. We weren’t able to go all out all the time. You’ve got to recover and you’ve got to worry about not getting others injured as well. That kind of sums up our season.”
Alton 2, Belleville East 1
It took double-overtime and a best-of-six penalty kicks for the Redbirds to eliminate the Lancers.
Lexi Schrimpf buried the decisive penalty kick, then Alton junior goalkeeper Julia-May Campbell blocked Lauren Buschur to preserve the victory.
The win marks another milestone in a dramatic turnaround for the Redbirds, who won just four games all of last season.
“You could tell all the teams wanted it,” Alton coach Jeff Hayes said. “They played their hearts out all night long. It was physical just because the girls were playing so hard. You like to see your girls compete like that. I’m very happy with their effort.”
Freshman Morgan Rauscher put Alton on top at the 10:55 mark. Grace Brauer answered for East 17 minutes later with a goal off Campbell’s hands.
The Lancers had more opportunities to score in the second half, while Alton barely got another shot on goal. The Redbirds’ last best chance to win in overtime was a Taylor Imming shot spoiled by Lancer goalie Grace Tantillo, who deflected the ball off the crossbar.
Two 10-minute overtime periods passed without goals before it came down to the penalty kicks.
The Lancers’ season ended at 15-7. Brauer wrapped up her senior season among the region’s leaders with 27 goals.
“We had some good momentum,” East coach Erika Todd-Baptist said. “We won 15 games which hasn’t been done since 1998. Grace scored double the goals from last year and we had valuable team effort. We beat some good teams and lost to some good teams, but we’ll just keep moving the program forward.”