TROY, Ill. – The Griffins went into Thursday’s regular-season finale unbeaten in their last five games, not allowing a goal since a 2-1 loss to Althoff on April 23.

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Unfortunately for Father McGivney, it couldn’t end the season with the desired result, suffering a narrow 1-0 loss to the Triad Knights.

McGivney closes the regular season with a 16-4-4 record, its most successful campaign in program history and now the attention turns toward winning a second regional title.

“Absolutely, for sure,” Griffins’ head coach Matthew McVicar said when asked if anything less than another regional title would be a disappointment.

“We plan on going far. Regionals is what we did this year, we want to go farther than that this year. Regionals is a minimum; we want more than that.”

McGivney earned the No. 1 seed in its respective Class 1A Murphysboro Sub-Sectional. The Griffins begin postseason action this Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. against No. 6 seeded Maryville Christian (4-13).

McGivney beat the Lions in both meetings this season by scores of 8-0 on April 18 and 7-0 on April 30.

Should McGivney advance to the regional title game it would take on the winner between No. 4 Breese Central and No. 5 Trenton Wesclin on Tuesday, May 14 at 4 p.m. at Father McGivney High School.

McVicar and the Griffins left Troy holding their heads high after a competitive game against the Knights, one that could have gone either way.

“We told the kids that we were just going to use this as the bar for the playoffs and we came out and fought,” McVicar said. “Triad came out swinging in the first five minutes and we didn’t bend. I’m very proud of the effort.”

The Knights were the first to get a shot off in just the fourth minute when Emma Correale’s shot hit the side netting from an awkward angled attempt.

Four minutes later McGivney answered with a good chance as Erin Kretzker just pushed her shot wide right in the eighth minute.

Griffins’ goalkeeper Karpenter Farmer was tested early on in the second half, having to come up with a couple of close-range saves to keep the game level.

Triad was knocking on the door around the hour mark and found the game’s lone goal in the 64th minute from a set piece.

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Maddie Hunt whipped in an in swinging corner kick, intentionally or not, to the back post. The Griffins’ defense thought the ball was over everybody, but waiting in the back and then rising up to put the header back across the face of goal and in was Reece Windsor to give her team the 1-0 lead.

It was her first goal of the season to go along with two assists. It was Hunt’s seventh helper of the season.

“Not as much as we should,” Triad head coach Matt Bettlach said about scoring off of set pieces.

“Especially with the some of the girls that we have to put the ball in the box, and we’ve got some girls who are dangerous with their heads. But it’s always nice to get a corner kick goal, especially going into playoffs to know that is a weapon for you. Set pieces, I’ve been on both sides of it in a championship game, so set pieces are huge. Nice to get one in there.”

He was happy to end his team’s regular season on the right foot.

“That’s the first thing I told them. That’s a good win going into postseason,” Bettlach said.

The Knights, in Class 2A, also earned the No. 1 seed in their respective Freeburg Sub-Sectional. They’ll host No. 9 Salem (2-15-2) on Tuesday, May 14 at 4:30 p.m. On the other side of the regional is No. 4 Highland vs. No. 7 Centralia.

Triad (16-4-1) will be trying to reach the super-sectional, a game which it will host on Tuesday, May 28. The Knights hope to use their home-field advantage after not dropping a game at home this season, going 8-0-1.

“I told our girls, how fun would it be to come to our home and play a super-sectional for once? It’s a tough road, we don’t want to look past Tuesday, but hopefully it gives them a little bit of inspiration and hunger,” Bettlach said.

As for the Griffins, they too host their regional, and they too went undefeated at home this season at 8-0-3.

McGivney closed the regular season with 15 shutouts, outscoring their opponents a combined 99-15.

“Defense is playing good, and defense is what’s going to carry us in the playoffs,” McVicar said. “We just need to find a way to score against those tougher teams.”

Triad was indeed one of those tougher teams and it was only McGivney’s second shutout loss of the season, the first coming in the season-opener against Mascoutah. But McVicar was glad to end the season with a tough opponent.

“We are always wanting to get tougher games. It just so happened, that when we scheduled Triad, it was the last game of the season. I don’t mind it,” McVicar said.

“This is what makes you better, playing this kind of competition.”

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