Columbia’s joyful postseason ended in the most painful of ways.
Marquette outscored the Eagles 5-4 in penalty kicks Saturday to record a 2-1 victory in the championship game of the Class 1A Althoff Sectional at McKendree University.
The penalty-kicks period, which followed a pair of scoreless 10-minute overtimes, was deadlocked at 4 when Explorers sophomore goalie Lauren Fischer shifted to her left to save a low shot by Columbia junior Madelyne “Mo” Juenger. Junior Elisa Senno then finished past Eagles junior keeper Alison Riddle to clinch the win.
You hate losing that way. It feels bad winning that way, too. It’s hard because I felt like we played well and we could have come out on top. That’s how it goes.
Columbia girls soccer coach Jamey Bridges after his team’s loss in penalty kicks Saturday
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“You take a team sport and make it an individual one,” Columbia coach Jamey Bridges said, referring to penalty kicks. “He (Marquette coach Steve Mitchell) would say the same thing. You hate losing that way. It feels bad winning that way, too. It’s hard because I felt like we played well and we could have come out on top. That’s how it goes.”
I’ve never had the best of luck in penalty kicks, but I’m glad it’s working this season. I’m glad I can do it for my team.
Marquette goalie Lauren Fischer, who has saved three penalty kicks in the last two games
Fischer made two saves in penalty kicks in the sectional semifinals Wednesday night against Gibault, helping the Explorers eke out a 1-0 win. One save was enough Saturday.
“I saw that (Juenger) was looking ... to the (left) side of the goal. I just figured she was probably going to the other side,” said Fischer, who watched the Eagles convert their first four penalty kicks inside the left post. “I’ve never had the best of luck in penalty kicks, but I’m glad it’s working this season. I’m glad I can do it for my team.
“(Columbia) is very good.”
Marquette (13-9-3) advanced to the Springfield Super-Sectional and will play Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
The Eagles finished 15-6-2.
The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Explorers grabbed a 1-0 lead on a goal from freshman Natalie Brown at 40 minutes, 16 seconds. The play began when senior Adriana Schindler’s header hit the post before rolling to Brown for the easy tap-in.
Columbia didn’t trail long. Junior Blair Wittenbrink finished inside the left post to make it 1-1 at 47 minutes, a shot that came after junior Sam Bostick redirected a free kick from the left side.
“To battle back and get the equalizer showed a lot of character,” said Bridges, who completed his first season. “It just didn’t go our way. ... It’s unfortunate, but that’s why you play.”
I can’t say enough about Columbia. They had a lot of heart. Those kids played hard. Our kids, though, they never quit. They were gassed. Our legs were Jello, but they kept going.
Marquette girls soccer coach Steve Mitchell
Mitchell credited Columbia.
“I can’t say enough about Columbia,” he said. “They had a lot of heart. Those kids played hard. Our kids, though, they never quit. They were gassed. Our legs were Jello, but they kept going. Nobody wants PKs. I’ve been here before and been on the losing side. You’ve got to have a keeper come up big, and she came up big twice (in the sectional).”
Columbia will return most of its roster, although they will miss Riddle and senior defender Allison Murphy. Among the key returning players are Juenger, Bostick, Wittenbrink, Chloe Graff, Taylor Parks, Sophia Bonaldi, Morgan Glaenzer, Fae Harrell, Jenna Jackson and Kalee Jackson. Taylor Kaempfe, injured much of this season, also will return.
“We’re very excited about the future,” Bridges said.
Collinsville 5, Alton 0
The powerful Kahoks experienced no difficulty winning the Class 3A Collinsville Regional as junior Tayler Devine paced the attack by scoring three goals.
Junior Emily Holten and senior Chayse Richardson also scored for Collinsville, which won its 12th consecutive game and its fifth straight regional. The Kahoks led 3-0 at halftime.
The Kahoks (18-1-2) will play Southwestern Conference rival Granite City (10-6-4) in the semifinals of the Normal Sectional at 7 p.m. Tuesday at O’Fallon High School.
Collinsville’s offensive balance is tough to contain. It had seven different scorers in its 8-1 victory over O’Fallon in the regional semifinals Wednesday, then had three different players chip in with goals against Alton (12-6-3).
“It’s nice to have different goal-scorers, for sure,” Kahoks coach Clay Smith said. “We stress that. It’s a great weapon for our team going forward.”
The Kahoks defeated Granite City 2-1 in the regular season, but Smith said the game means nothing at this point. Smith also knows the Warriors will be confident after defeating Edwardsville 2-1 in penalty kicks Friday night in the Class 3A Granite City Regional final.
“You can’t worry about that,” Smith said of Collinsville’s previous game against the Warriors. “Our motto for the postseason is, ‘Don’t pay attention to records and rankings.’”