COLLINSVILLE – The Alton High School girls soccer team took on the Collinsville Kahoks in the regional semifinals Tuesday evening and came out the other side with a 3-0 victory. It makes it the third time this season the Redbirds have shut out Collinsville.
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Alton will now move on to the regional championship game against the Edwardsville Tigers on Friday.
The Redbirds came out to a slow start by their standards, and head coach Gwen Sabo agreed.
“Truthfully, like I told my girls at halftime, we should’ve been down 3-1 at halftime,” Sabo said.
The Kahoks had a couple of great chances in the first five minutes forcing junior goalkeeper Peyton Baker to come up with some clutch saves early on.
“We’re just fortunate that they weren’t able to capitalize on those. We came out very sluggish and reactive,” Sabo added.
Besides those couple of early chances, not much went on in the first 15 minutes.
That was until junior midfielder Maddie Cooke made it 1-0 Alton in the 17th minute. It was her fifth goal of the season.
Collinsville could have tied things up in the 30th minute but a shot from distance rattled off the crossbar and away.
It was a close 1-0 game at halftime.
Alton came out the other side of the break determined to add to their lead and that’s exactly what they did.
Just two minutes into the half Emily Baker scored to make it 2-0 Alton. She took a touch onto her right foot to gain some separation from her defender. She got just enough space and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner for her 31st goal of the season.
Alton was now in the driver’s seat.
The highlight of the game was undoubtedly freshman midfielder Lily Freer’s goal in the 60th minute. She started in her own half with the ball and beat defender after defender, dribbling past nearly Collinsville’s entire defense. Somehow, she made it all the way through into the opposing 18-yard box where she finally took her shot and made it 3-0. It was her 16th goal of the season which is second on the team behind Baker.
Three goals proved to be too much for the Kahoks to overcome as their season comes to an end after a 5-16-2 season.
“Regardless of Collinsville’s record, they are a good team. They are a quality soccer team. They’re well-coached and they have a good strategy,” Sabo said postgame about the Kahoks.
At the time, Sabo didn’t know who her team would face. She and most of the Alton team stuck around to watch the other regional semifinal between the Edwardsville Tigers and the Quincy Blue Devils.
Now Alton knows that they’ll get a rematch with Edwardsville after they beat Quincy 1-0.
Alton and Edwardsville played twice in the regular season. The first time back on April 7th Alton won 2-0 at Edwardsville. The second game was at Alton and the Tigers came out on top 3-2 back on May 10th.
This time the game will be played for the regional championship on neutral ground. The game kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, May 20th at Collinsville.