MURPHYSBORO - Jude Keller scored a brace (two goals) in the first half and the Marquette Catholic defense made the goals stand up, as goalie Will Fahnestock recorded the clean sheet as the Explorers defeated host Murphysboro 2-0 in the first semifinal of the IHSA Class 1A boys soccer sectional at Murphysboro High on Saturday morning.

The Explorers advance to the last 16 with the win, putting them into the final against Columbia, who defeated Waterloo Gibault Catholic in the second semifinal 3-0.

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Keller, and Marquette, got their first goal in the 18th minute off a corner kick. Scott Vickrey headed the ball towards the near post onto the head of Keller, who nodded home to give the Explorers the lead at 1-0. Marquette then doubled their lead on the half-hour, when a ball sent to the far post was settled by Maicol Hudson, who sent a pass towards Keller. Keller slotted home from the edge of the goal crease to make the score 2-0, which is all the Explorers would need.

The defense effectively shut down the Red Devils' Cade Brooks, who scored 57 goals on the season, and clearly dominated possession in getting the win and moving on to the Round of 16.

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Marquette head coach Brian Hoener said he thought his squad finished the match in strong fashion. He also commended his goalie Fahnestock and the defenders for such a top-notch effort.

“Jude Keller was active and played really well,” the coach said of his two goals, the key to the victory. “I thought our defense was excellent. When your defense limits the other team’s chances in the playoffs it makes a big difference. We play Columbia on Wednesday night. They are an excellent team this season and are well-coached so it will take our best effort.”

Murphysboro ends their season 17-2-3, while Marquette improves to 16-4-3 and will face the Eagles, a 4-0 winner over Marquette earlier in the season, in the final Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. The winner goes on to the Virden North Mac super-sectional quarterfinal match against the winner of the Williamsville sectional, either Teutopolis or the host Bullets, on Saturday, with the kickoff time to be announced.

The North Mac winner goes on to the state finals in Hoffman Estates, in northwest suburban Chicago, on Nov. 2 against the winner of the Herscher super-sectional, either the host Tigers, Beecher, Normal University or Bloomington Central Catholic, in the second semifinal at 7 p.m.

The third and fourth place game will be played Friday, Nov. 3, at noon and the state grand final will be played Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2:30 p.m.

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