ALTON – Maggie Evans’ brace (two goals) and the first goal of the season from Josie Paniagua helped Alton to a 3-0 win over Belleville East in the semifinals of the IHSA Class 3A girls soccer regional tournament Wednesday afternoon at Piasa Motor Fuels Field.

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The win advances the Redbirds to the final on Saturday morning against O’Fallon, who defeated Quincy on Tuesday afternoon 3-0.

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“I am very happy with our 3-0 win tonight,” said Alton head coach Gwen Sabo. “It was nice to have an offensive explosion and get some confidence moving into the regional championship on Saturday. O’Fallon is a very talented team, and this is our fourth time playing them this season, so it will be a good game.”

Paniagua, a freshman, scored the first goal of the match, which were followed up by Evans’ brace. Morgan Rauscher and Paniagua assisted on the Evans goals that helped eliminate the Lancers.

The Redbirds and Panthers meet up for the regional championship Saturday morning at 11 a.m., with the winner meeting the Edwardsville regional winner, either the host Tigers or Granite City, in the Moline sectional semifinal next Tuesday at a site to be announced, with the kickoff set for 4:30 p.m. The sectional final will be played at Moline on May 24 at 6 p.m., with the sectional winner playing in the Romeoville super-sectional at Lewis University against the winner of the Aurora East sectional May 28 at 5 p.m. The state finals are set for North Central College in Naperville on May 31-June 1.

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