Chillcothe Regional soccer finals: Alleman 3, Princeton 1
CHILLICOTHE — Losing your final game and ending your season is never easy as the Princeton Tigresses soccer team discovered Friday night.
Tears flowed as the Tigresses gathered for the final time, falling to Rock Island Alleman 3-1 in the finals of the Chillicothe IVC 1A regional.
“It’s always difficult to end a season,” said David Gray, who concluded his first year as the PHS girls coach. “It’s the way the playoffs work, though. There is only one team that is really happy at the end of the season. That’s playoff soccer. That’s why it’s so exciting. It’s do or die. That’s why it’s difficult.”
The Pioneers struck first with a goal by Julie DeSmet at 18:57.
Freshman Kendall Miller added another Alleman goal 10:04 to make it 2-0, a lead it appeared the Pioneers would take to halftime.
However, with just 31.6 seconds left before half, an Allemen defender inadvertently kicked the ball directly into her own net, much to the disbelief of the Pioneers keeper. The Alleman player looked as if she wanted to do one of those, “Do you want to get away?” Southwest commercials.
That “own” goal sparked the Tigresses going into the second half as they continued to battle for most of the second half. It was not big enough spark, to get the Tigresses on the scoreboard again.
Alleman didn’t score either until DeSmet found the back of the net again with 7:42 remaining to make it 3-1, a goal which Gray said deflated the Tigresses.
“The first 20-25 minutes of the second half, we really controlled what was going on,” Gray said. “Their third goal kind of came against the current run of play and really sucked the wind out of our sails. But I think up until that third goal, we were controlling the match. We just couldn’t get the breakthrough. So (the own goal) did give us momentum, but we couldn’t find the back of the net.”
Gray said the Tigresses executed the game plan they talked about, which was “trying to challenge for loose balls again. Make it difficult for them, pressure them, make them play well and then try to hit them with counter attacks and breakaways.
“That’s where we had success They had possession and we were sucked back in, absorbing the pressure,” he said. “When we were able to win the ball and get out quick, there was a lot of space to run into. That’s where we created chances and that’s where our goal came from.”
The PHS coach praised keeper Angie Turpen for shaking off an early ankle injury and still making saves, as well as other girls who had injuries of their own.
“I’m really proud of the girls. There are a lot of bumps and bruises, which is normal for this time of the year. They all toughed it out. They all wanted to play and keep playing. I’m so proud of them. I don’t even have the words,” Gray said.
Gray said the Tigresses showed improvement from a previous 5-0 loss at the hands of the Pioneers.
“That’s one measure of our improvement, I guess. We can be proud of. Obviously, we wished the outcome would have been different,” Gray said. “I think the girls should be proud of their effort tonight and all season. I’ve had a great time coaching the girls this year. I hope they feel like I do.”
Alleman (8-8) advances to the Quincy Notre Dame Sectional to face the host and defending state champion Lady Raiders Tuesday.