Collinsville opened its Class 3A Normal Sectional championship game against the host Ironmen on Friday with a brisk wind at its back.
Once the ball was put into play, the Kahoks attacked relentlessly and had no difficulty posting a 6-0 victory, their latest step toward a second straight appearance in the state tournament.
Led by three goals from junior Emily Holten, Collinsville improved to 20-1-2 and will face Lincoln-Way North in the Joliet Super-Sectional at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Kahoks placed fourth in the state tournament last year.
You worry about coming off a long bus ride and getting off on the right foot. It was important for us to attack and get an early goal. The girls did that and played very well the first half. The wind at our back helped us push the ball forward a little bit.
Collinsville girls soccer coach Clay Smith
“You worry about coming off a long bus ride and getting off on the right foot,” Kahoks coach Clay Smith said. “It was important for us to attack and get an early goal. The girls did that and played very well the first half. The wind at our back helped us push the ball forward a little bit.”
Normal coach Matt Chapman said the Kahoks’ wind advantage got the game off on the wrong foot for his Ironmen (18-4-3).
“That was an unlucky break that they were able to secure the wind the first half,” Chapman said. “We handled it for a little while, but they started taking advantage of some balls over the top. Their movement up top was spectacular. They pounced to the ball and got to it first.”
Collinsville, which eliminated Granite City 1-0 in the semifinals Tuesday, began the scoring at the 12 minutes, 46 seconds when Emma Knoebel curled a corner kick into the goal. At 20:45, Holten broke loose behind the Ironmen’s defense to score past Normal keeper Kayla Byrd.
Byrd slowed a powerful shot by Holten less than two minutes later, but the ball trickled into the net for a 3-0 Collinsville advantage. Tayler Devine booted a free kick over Byrd for the fourth goal at the 33:18 juncture of the half.
“They made it happen, and it just kept happening,” Chapman said. “There weren’t really too many adjustments we could even make to stop or slow them at that point. They were a very impressive team today.”
Holten’s centering pass to Courtney Marten produced the fifth goal at 52:51, and Holten added her third tally at 63:33.
“We did well to stay composed and we controlled the ball out of the air,” Smith said. “We did what we could against the wind and still got two good goals. We have a lot of weapons who can put the ball in the net. It’s nice to find those gaps and be able to finish.”
They made it happen, and it just kept happening. There weren’t really too many adjustments we could even make to stop or slow them at that point. They were a very impressive team today.
Normal girls soccer coach Matt Chapman on the play of the Collinsville Kahoks on Friday
Normal nearly ruined the shutout in the final two minutes, but a shot from Maggie Peters sailed just wide. Iron goalkeepers Byrd (14) and Emma Spader (six) combined for 20 saves.
“If we didn’t connect our pass exactly the way it needed to happen, it would be going the other way again,” Chapman said. “They have a couple great central midfielders, and they have obviously some tremendous attackers.”
Collinsville used Julie Scheiter in net for the first half and Morgan Lerch in the second half. Kelsey Delisle, Andrea Frerker and Hanna Liljegren also were credited with Kahok assists.
Holten boosted her goal-scoring total to 22, tops on the team.