EDWARDSVILLE - A brace (two goals) from Wyatt Erber, along with a solid defensive effort that limited Belleville West's opportunities, helped give Edwardsville a 3-0 win over the Maroons in the first semifinal of the IHSA Class 3A regional tournament Tuesday evening at Tiger Stadium.

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The Tigers played very well in their postseason opener and advanced to the final on Saturday afternoon against O'Fallon, a 3-1 winner over Granite City in the second semifinal.

"It went well," said Edwardsville head coach Mark Heiderscheid. "I thought the players did a good job of moving the ball, and especially in the second half, we did a good job of connecting the ball. I do think we did a good job, and in the second half, we were able to do a good job defensively, and we were able to get Nathan Beck the clean sheet."

Ben Loftus scored the opening goal early on, where he was able to beat a defender and got a good shot past the West goalkeeper into the back of the net to give Edwardsville a 1-0 lead.

"It was very good," Heiderscheid said, "because he was able to beat the guy with pace, got up into the box and smashed it home. It was a very good goal."

Erber's brace came in the second half, and both were of similar design. On the first goal, Erber went through the middle, took a good ball, went in and slotted the ball home to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The second goal was virtually the same as the first.

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"It was a carbon copy," Heiderscheid said. "He got the ball in the middle and slots it home."

The Tigers clamped down defensively on the West attack, rarely allowing a chance as Edwardsville took the win and advanced to the final.

Edwardsville is now 15-3-3 and advances to Saturday's final, where they'll face the Panthers in the rubber match, both teams splitting their Southwestern Conference matches this season. Heiderscheid expects a very good challenge from O'Fallon for the title.

"They come in with a lot of energy and spirit," Heiderscheid said, "and they're a very difficult opponent to play against. We'll definitely have to be very prepared."

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