MURPHYSBORO — The Murphysboro Red Devils' season ended in the semifinals of the Pinckneyville Class 1A girls soccer sectionals Tuesday at “Doc” Bencini Field with a 7-0 loss to Columbia.
"My girls played their hearts out, but it was a tough game,” said Murphysboro coach Mike Lydy. “They scored five goals on set plays and we knew they were going to be dangerous on set plays because they can throw long throw-ins and we just didn’t clear the ball. I give it to them. That was the difference in the game. They are a very well coached team. They possess the ball well and they are fast."
Murphysboro came into the game undefeated and the top seed in the Pinckneyville sub-sectional B having given up just one goal all season. The Red Devils finish the season with a 13-1-1 record.
“We are a very young team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing and we’re just going to get better,” Lydy said.
Columbia (12-6) advances to the sectional championship game against the top seed of the sub-sectional A Belleville Althoff, which beat Pinckneyville, 10-0, in the other semifinal Tuesday.
“On to play Althoff for the fourth straight year,” said Columbia coach Jamey Bridges. “We won in 17, they won in 18 and we won in 19, so hopefully that trend doesn’t keep going. It’s going to be a good battle. We’re going to be ready and we’ll put it all out there.”
Columbia scored first with 27:57 remaining in the first half on a header by forward Maddie Mauch following a throw-in from the right sideline by senior midfielder Megan Levin. For the freshman, it was her team-leading 13th goal of the season.
The Eagles upped their lead to 2-0 on a goal by Alison Carr off a long free kick from the 48 yard line. For Carr, it was her second goal of the season. One minute and 44 seconds later, Lindsay Glover scored her sixth goal of the season to increase the lead to 3-0 with 18:39 remaining in the half.
Columbia scored again with 10:59 remaining on a header by Mary Gasaway following a corner kick by Kaleigh Wilhelm from the left corner.
Gasaway then scored for her sixth goal of the season on a play that began with a Wilhelm corner kick from the right side and ended with the senior defender scoring on a rebound to up the lead to 5-0 with 5:04 left in the half. The score remained 5-0 at the half.
Murphysboro senior forward Maci Uffelman had a good scoring chance 12:11 into the second half, but Emily Kish, who had replaced Brooklyn Oestrich in goal two and a half minutes earlier, made the save.
Two minutes and one second later, the Eagles scored on a goal by Alexa Hildebrand off another long kick by Levin. For Hildebrand, it was her seventh goal of the season. Mae Descher scored Columbia’s final goal with 22:11 remaining.