ALTON – The Edwardsville High School girls soccer team shocked the Alton Redbirds by defeating them 3-2. The win for the Tigers ended a four-game win streak for Alton. With the win, the schools split the regular-season series as the Redbirds bested Edwardsville 2-0 back on April 7th.

“I think we had a good strategy coming into this game and the girls remained disciplined in that strategy,” Edwardsville head coach Abby Federmann said after the win.

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It is still possible that the two meet for a third time. Alton would have to beat Collinsville and Edwardsville would have to get past Quincy in order to lock up again in the regional finals on Friday, May 20th.

The Redbirds did not take long to break through Edwardsville’s defense. 45 seconds into the game junior forward Emily Baker scored to make it 1-0 real early on. It was her 27th goal of the season.

Senior forward Payton Federmann had a chance to tie the game for the Tigers in the sixth minute, but her shot hit the post.

Edwardsville did tie things up before halftime though. In the 34th minute, junior forward Olivia Baca scored. She dribbled the ball in and cut the ball back to her right foot right inside the 18-yard box. She let a shot rip past the diving Peyton Baker to tie the game at 1-1.

That’s how things would stand headed into halftime.

It’s worth mentioning that at kickoff the temperature outside was near 90 degrees. It was the first really hot day of the season, which could be a little hard to get used to. Edwardsville used their deep bench to their advantage and made constant substitutions. The Redbirds could only do so much with just about half the number of subs that Edwardsville had.

“It was also to our advantage that we had such a fluid bench to come in and kind of give the breaks that needed to happen in this heat,” Federmann said.

Needless to say, a little bit of fatigue set in for the Redbirds.

“I told the girls I wasn’t going to let the heat be an excuse, but I certainly think our girls made it an excuse,” Alton head coach Gwen Sabo said postgame.

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“To be fair, it was hot out and we haven’t felt that in a while. But kudos to Edwardsville, it was still hot for them, and they got the job done.”

A foul led to an Edwardsville freekick in the 52nd minute. Senior defender Macie Hockett was to take, and she delivered. Her laser beam of a shot soared past Baker from around about 40 yards out. It was an incredible way to take a 2-1 lead and was undoubtedly the highlight of the game.

“Well my teammate Peyton Federmann told me to shoot it and then Emily Baker, who I’m really good friends with, she said, ‘thirty bucks if you hit it’ and I just said okay and then it went in,” Hockett said postgame about the goal.

Freekicks like that don’t go in very often from that far. Sabo mentioned that there’s not much you can do about it and gave props to the Tigers’ center-back for a great goal.

Alton persevered though and struck back. In the 65th-minute freshman midfielder, Lily Freer tied things back up. After a hard battle with a defender on her right shoulder she got just enough separation to get a shot off. Edwardsville’s keeper, senior Kaitlyn Naney, got her fingertips to it but couldn’t push it away. Instead, Freer picked up her 15th goal of the season and tied the game at two apiece.

This was certainly a back and forth affair, and it still had one more goal in it. If tied after 80 minutes it would have gone to overtime and then penalty kicks, but none of that was necessary.

Late in the game, in the 72nd minute, Baca picked up her second goal of the game. She did so after slotting the ball through on a fast breakaway. That one ended up being the game-winner as she now has 19 goals on the season, which leads her team.

Both teams have a game remaining before they head off for the postseason. Alton will play Belleville East at 6:45 p.m. at AHS on Thursday (May 12). Edwardsville will also play Thursday but against Collinsville at home at 6:30 p.m.

Alton will take on Collinsville in their regional semifinal while Edwardsville will take on Quincy in theirs. Those games are back-to-back on Tuesday, May 17 at Collinsville.

When asked if she wanted to see the potential rematch with the Redbirds Federmann said: “I wouldn’t mind it; it’s always a good game.”

“Anybody we see in that second round will be a strong threat. The postseason is just a different beast,” Federmann finished with.

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