Girls Varsity Soccer
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- May 5, 2021
- REDBIRDS: 0
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC HS (ALTON): 3
Explorers score early, late and blank Alton
ALTON — As Alton’s players walked off the field at halftime trailing Marquette 1-0, a Redbirds fan shouted to them, “You’re a second-half team!”
Indeed the Redbirds were. They picked up their pace and applied plenty of pressure on the rival Explorers. But in the end, it was Marquette’s defense that got final bragging rights. The Explorers kept Alton off the scoreboard, added a pair of late goals and won 3-0 Wednesday night at Public School Stadium.
“Alton applied more pressure in the second half,” Marquette coach Brian Hoener said. “I thought we did a nice job in the first half, our defense played well in the second half and (goalie) Josie Keller made saves when we needed them.”
The Marquette win was part of the Metro Cup Showcase. It was also the first girls soccer meeting between Marquette and Alton since 2016.
Marquette is 6-3 overall and 2-0 in the showcase. Alton fell to 2-5 overall and 1-1 in the showcase. The next showcase game for Alton will be at 5:30 Friday at Triad. Marquette’s next showcase contest will be at noon Saturday against Collinsville at Columbia High School.
“Alton has some very dangerous players,” Hoener said. “Their goalie (Addison Miller) was excellent.”
Marquette Catholic’s Aela Scruggs (22), Madelyn Smith (15), Jillian Nelson (23) and Emma Anselm (19) celebrate Smith’s first-half goal while Alton’s Ainsley Redman walks toward the Redbird bench Wednesday at Public School Stadium in Alton.
Miller, a senior, made 10 saves, some of the acrobatic variety, and sustained the Redbirds’ hopes. But even though the Redbirds’ pace picked up in the second half, their goal production did not.
“Addie was amazing,” Alton coach Gwen Sabo said. “Her (knee) brace broke earlier and she was concerned about it, but she did a great job.”
Miller, who suffered a torn ACL year ago, has worn a knee brace in games this season. Whatever her concerns were, she pushed them aside Wednesday. She stopped four Marquette breakaways, three in the first half, including one on a point-bank shot by Clare Antrainer. Miller made life frustrating at times for the Explorers, who also hit the crossbar twice and a post another time.
Overall, Marquette outshot the Redbirds 12-5.
“We played better in the second half,” Sabo said, “but when we get the ball where we need to, we lose it.”
Madelyn Smith’s first-half goal was the only one the Explorers needed, as things turned out.
Smith took a pass from Emma Anselm and blasted a shot from the right wing that eluded Miller and hit the inside left netting in the 19th minute to make it 1-0.
There were plenty of other Marquette chances before halftime, but Miller turned them aside.
A minute after Smith’s goal, the Explorers had a golden opportunity for a second goal. Defender Ellie Jacobs sent the ball down the left wing to Antrainer, who kept it alive in the corner, then dished it off to Amselm, whose shot was saved by Miller.
The Redbirds had a chance at tying the score with 15:30 left in the half, but Emily Baker’s corner kick was headed just over top of the goal by Amy Pattan. And with five minutes left in the half, a point blank shot by Pattan was saved by Keller, who deflected the ball out of bounds.
The Redbirds came out hard in the second half. Pattan broke in on Keller with 28:30 left, but the Marquette goalie came out to smother the ball.
Alton’s best scoring chance came with 10:30 remaining in the game. Katie Stark stole the ball from the Explorers defense, but her blast from about 16 yards was wide right.
Marquette got its first insurance goal with 3:43 remaining when Anselm blasted a direct free kick off Miller’s outstretched hands, off the crossbar and down over the goal line.
With 2:18 remaining, Anselm scored again, this time on a cross from Jillian Nelson.
“I know they scored three goals,” Sabo said, “but this wasn’t a 3-0 game. The score doesn’t indicate how this game was really played.”
“Our last two goals came against the flow of play,” he said. “Overall, I thought we did a nice job. Playing a team like Alton can only make us better.”