Lincoln-Way North girls soccer coach Mike Murphy had heard all about the talent of the Collinsville Kahoks.
But Murphy and the Phoenix were powerless to do anything about it Tuesday in the Class 3A Joliet Super-Sectional.
“I knew coming in that they were good,” Murphy said after watching his team fall to the Kahoks 4-1. “Every paper had them as having not just one weapon or two weapons, but four or five weapons. Sure enough, they had a slew of people. They were good.
“They’re just so hard and physical. We usually play a very hard and physical game, but they beat us to that. They’re a good team. They wore us down. They were faster than us and they were a little more physical than us.”
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I knew coming in that they were good. Every paper had them as having not just one weapon or two weapons, but four or five weapons. Sure enough, they had a slew of people. They were good.
Lincoln-Way North girls soccer coach Mike Murphy on the Collinsville Kahoks
Junior Tayler Devine scored two goals, sophomore Courtney Marten had a goal and an assist and junior Emily Holten had a goal as Collinsville (21-1-2) advanced to the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
The Kahoks, who placed fourth in state last season, will play Glenbard East (23-4) in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday at North Central College in Naperville. Glenbard East defeated Naperville North 2-0 on Tuesday to win the Romeoville Super-Sectional.
Lincoln-Way North finished 16-8-1.
“We took it to them,” said Collinsville coach Clay Smith, whose Kahoks extended their winning streak to 15. “But they’re a solid team. Defensively, they did a great job. They had a good game plan to take Emily out of the game. But like I told the girls at halftime, ‘They’ve done a good job in the first 40 (minutes) taking Emily out, but they forgot about No. 6, Tayler Devine.”
Defensively, they did a great job. They had a good game plan to take Emily (Holten) out of the game. But like I told the girls at halftime, ‘They’ve done a good job in the first 40 (minutes) taking Emily out, but they forgot about No. 6, Tayler Devine.
Collinsville girls soccer coach Clay Smith
Devine wasn’t on the team last season, so she’s enjoying the postseason craziness.
“This was really important,” said Devine, a forward. “We had to win to go to state. I wasn’t a part of the team last year, so I think it’s going to be a fun experience for me and everybody else, too. We played really well as a team today. We had to defend and we scored goals when we had the right opportunities to, so I think we did a really good job.”
Devine scored both her goals in the first half, giving Collinsville a 2-0 lead at the intermission.
First, she finished in the middle of the box on a cross from the right side by Marten at 6 minutes, 18 seconds. Devine’s next goal came on a low shot from 25 yards out that sneaked inside the left post at 37:12.
But the Phoenix were on the attack to start the second half, getting within 2-1 on a goal by freshman Haley Moustis, who converted off a flick from senior Grace Murphy. The play began with a right-side corner kick by junior Kelsey McInturff.
Less than two minutes later, Lincoln-Way North nearly tied the game. McInturff was open in front, but miskicked a shot that Kahoks senior keeper Julie Scheiter saved.
“We did not give up,” Murphy said. “To come out in the second half and score that goal and almost score a second goal to tie it up, I’ve got to give them a lot of credit for that. We never quit. We left it on the field and that’s all I could ask them to do.
“I told them, ‘If you’re going to lose, this is the way you want to lose. You want to lose to a better team, but you left it on the field.’ So they did.”
It proved to be the Phoenix’s final opportunity. Marten scored in front of the right post on a feed from the left side by junior Alynnah O’Leary to make it 3-1 at 52:07.
“That’s the one that kind of took the wind out of their sails a little bit and let us relax,” Smith said. “Courtney Marten stepped up in the starting lineup and was huge at that outside mid. It just shows how complete of a team we are and how (good) we can be.”
Holten blistered in a shot into an empty net from 35 yards out to make it 4-1 at 73:21.
The Kahoks weren’t themselves in the state tournament last year, losing to Neuqua Valley and Barrington to finish fourth. They also lost their best player, Sophia Sharos, to a broken leg.
Smith believes things will be different this spring.
“We’re a year older, we know what to expect, we’re healthier, we’re a bit deeper on our bench,” Smith said. “Not taking anything away from that team last year because it was a phenomenal team. When you lose your team captain (Sharos) like that last year, it obviously hurts.
“I think we’ll be ready to play. They’re hungry and they’ll go out and compete as hard as they can.”
The Kahoks had to travel 250 miles to play the game. Lincoln-Way North made a short 20-minute trip from Frankfort.
The Illinois High School Association said on its website that the game would be moved to central Illinois in the event of a team from the south winning the sectional, as the Kahoks did with a 6-0 win over host Normal on Friday.
But the game remained in Joliet and the Kahoks made the most of the bus trip.
“We got to watch some movies on the way,” Devine said. “Everything we do with our team is fun. We’re just a big family, so it was fun.”