Girls Soccer: St Edward turns back Elgin AcademySt. Edward's Corey Lepoudre (1) and teammate Emily Witt celebrate as time runs out in their Class 1A Regional semifinal game against Elgin Academy on Tuesday at Genoa-Kingston. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 8, 2012 11:07PM
During the regular season St. Edward defeated Elgin Academy twice by a combined score of 11-3.
The third meeting, Tuesday in the Genoa-Kingston Class 1A Regional semifinals, wasn’t quite as easy for the Green Wave. The fourth-seeded Hilltoppers tightened up the defense and gave top-seeded St. Edward all it could handle before the Green Wave prevailed with a 2-0 victory.
The Green Wave will now play for its second straight regional title and fourth in the past five years on Friday when it meets the winner of today’s Westminster Christian vs. Genoa-Kingston game.
“Hats off to Elgin Academy,” said St. Edward coach Tim Brieger. “They really game planned for us and played a great game. They had us on the ropes and really took us out of our game. I feel like we escaped with a win today. Fortunately in the playoffs that’s all you have to do to advance, but we will have to be much sharper on Friday.”
St. Edward (15-7-2) had plenty of scoring opportunities with a 15-1 shot-on-goal advantage, but it wasn’t until there was 17:43 left in the first half that they were finally able to get on the scoreboard. That’s when Megan Kearney took a long pass from Allison Kruk and broke free down the left side before pulling up from just outside the box to drill a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net.
“It was a little frustrating at the beginning of the game because we were getting chances but couldn’t finish,” said Kearney. “We just kept trying and eventually we got one in. Allison gave me a great feed and I was able to dribble past my defender to get free.”
St. Edward held on to the one-goal lead until Corey Lepoudre finally put the game away on a goal with 1:40 left to play off an assist from Kim Smith.
“That first win in the playoffs is sometimes the toughest,” said Brieger. “It was scary there for a little while because we were hanging on to that lead and they have a girl like Ashley (Barnes) who can score in a heartbeat.”
However, the Hilltoppers were never able to mount an offensive attack.
“The girls were focused and much more prepared to play them this time,” said Elgin Academy coach Shannon Walter. “I thought defensively we played a great game. It was tough getting anything going on offense. Outside of Ashley we are really inexperienced up front at our other forward spots. And they just did a great job of defending Ashley.”
The Hilltoppers finish the season 11-8-3.
“I am really proud of our seniors Ashley, Angie Martinez and Bethany Oglesby,” said Gannon. “They did a great job of leading this team and representing our school.”