Junior forward Olivia Baca catches her breath as she walks back after an offensive possession.

EDWARDSVILLE – The Edwardsville High School girls soccer team is headed to the Sectional Championship game this Friday (May 27) to take on Normal Community High School.

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Olivia BacaIt comes after beating the O’Fallon Panthers for the first time this season by a score of 2-0.

The Tigers lost to O’Fallon twice in the regular season by scores of 5-1 and 2-1.

The third time was indeed the charm for the Tigers, thanks to the help of their star forward, junior Olivia Baca.

She netted a brace (two goals) within the span of 13 minutes in the first half against the Panthers in the sectional game.

Olivia is one of the iCAN Clinic Female Athletes of the Month for Edwardsville High School. When asked about how it felt to score the two goals she replied: “It feels really good, especially against them.”

Her first goal came in the 11th minute off of a half breakaway. She beat her defender and then slotted the ball past the keeper to take an early 1-0 lead. She and her teammates celebrated immensely.

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Baca celebrates with her teammates after scoring her first goal of the game.

In the 25th minute, she struck again. This time she ran onto a through ball and once again flew by a defender with her speed. It became a 1 vs. 1 with the goalie and Baca chipped it over and into the side netting to double the Tigers’ lead.

Because of Baca, the Tigers led 2-0 at the half and found themselves in a spot they weren’t really expecting to be in. Olivia gave credit to O’Fallon after the game.

“I think our mindset was to stay focused defensively because obviously, they have an awesome attack. I think we just needed to play calm,” Baca said.

At this point, the defending Class 3A State Champion Panthers were stunned. All Edwardsville had to do was hang on for the ride and they did.

Last season the Tigers fell to the Panthers in this exact game, so it was good to get even with one of the best teams in the Southwestern Conference. It was certainly motivating as Baca recalls.

“I think it’s so much motivation. I mean, our positive vibes before the game and during the whole day, and honestly during the week was outstanding. We really came together as a team and were able to finish,” Baca added.

Baca and the Tigers will play this Friday at 5 p.m. at Normal Community High School for a chance at a Sectional Championship.

Baca sprints past a defender to try and get a shot off on net.

Read More:

Mar 15, 2022 | Olivia Baca Scores All Three Goals In Edwardsville's Season Opener, Is iCAN Clinic Female Athlete of Month Mar 15, 2022

Jun 14, 2021 | Tigers' Track and Field State Medalists Are iCAN Clinic Female Athletes Of Month For Edwardsville High School Jun 14, 2021

Oct 4, 2019 | New Athlete Of Month Poster "Hits the Streets!" Oct 4, 2019

May 11, 2022 | Defender Macie Hockett Is An iCAN Clinic Female Athlete of Month For Tigers May 11, 2022

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