WOOD RIVER - Emma Anselm's hat trick was the key as Marquette Catholic went on to a 6-0 win over Roxana in the IHSA Class 1A sectional final played Friday afternoon at the Wood River Soccer Complex.

Anselm's hat trick helped the Explorers advance to Monday's super-sectional game for the right to advance to the state finals next weekend. The conditions were less than ideal on a rather hot day, but Marquette adjusted very well.

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"I think the girls came out and battled the conditions," said Explorer coach Brian Hoener. "It was really hot today, and the conditions made things really difficult, but I thought we did a good job playing through it."

Besides Anselm's hat trick, Jillian Nelson, Kiley Donovan and Megan Jarzenbeck all found the back of the net for the Explorers, while goalies Josie Keller and Hannah Marshall shared the clean sheet.

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"We did a good job in creating passing lanes and finishing," Hoener said.

Hoener also had much praise for the Shells, who also enjoyed a very successful season.

"They were well-coached," Hoener said, "played very hard and had a great season. Hats off to them."

The Shells finished their very successful season 15-3-2, while the Explorers are now 13-6-1 and advance to Monday's super-sectional at Columbia High School. where they'll meet Belleville Althoff Catholic, who won a 5-4 shootout over the Eagles in their final. The match is set to kick off at 6 p.m., with the winner going to the state finals at Hoffman Estates High in northwest suburban Chicago next weekend. The Explorers-Crusaders winner will play at 11 a.m. next Friday in the state semifinals against either West Chicago Wheaton Academy or Princeton. The third-place match will be next Saturday at Palatine Fremd High School at 10 a.m, while the final will be played at Hoffman Estates at 2 p.m.

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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