Rileigh Kuhns eyes the ball before releasing a kick against Collinsville on Tuesday night. (Photo by Dan Brannan)

EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville girls’ soccer striker Rileigh Kuhns had a big game for the Tigers on Tuesday night, coming up with a wonder strike in the 58th minute off a free kick while having a pair of assists in helping Edwardsville to their first win over Collinsville since 2012 by the score of 4-2 at Tiger Stadium.

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Kuhns’ free-kick goal was a straight laser beam-like strike that had no other destination but the back of the net.

“I just kind of hit it with all my might,” Kuhns said with a laugh during a postgame interview, “and it was lucky enough to go on frame.”

The Tigers mounted a great comeback, with a very unusual own goal in the 11th minute, being able to equalize twice before winning it with two classic strikes about a minute apart.

“Yeah, having two assists and one goal tonight was big,” Kuhns said, “and I’m excited that I can help the team with goals and also help to assist with the goals.

Kuhns assisted on the fourth goal, putting across a brilliant cross that found Hannah Bielicke, who simply headed the ball into the net to give Edwardsville a 4-2 lead.

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“I went on a little dribbling spree,” Kuhns said, “and I looked up, Hannah called for it, and I aimed it for her head, and she got on it and finished a beautiful goal.”

The two winning goals were the results of hard work, and it’s one of the reasons Kuhns enjoys playing with her teammates.

“Yep, I always have so much fun with this team’ Kuhns said, “and our defense always puts up a good fight, too.”

The Tigers have more big games coming up in the Southwestern Conference, including the resumption of a game at Alton that was suspended because of rain on Apr. 5 with Edwardsville trailing 2-0. The Tigers next play O’Fallon on Thursday, and Kuhns feels optimistic about her side’s chances.

“O’Fallon, we did pretty well against them,” Kuhns said. “They came out the second half with a lot more energy, so they’re going to come out on Thursday with a lot of energy as well to try to beat us, so we’re going to come out just as strong as we did tonight.”

And as the first month of the season reaches its end, Kuhns feels that things are starting to come together very well for the Tigers.

“Yes, we are coming together, we’re hopefully going to get that conference win,” Kuhns said, “and hopefully, go far into the postseason.”

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