Eagles take consolation prize in Gateway Classic

Waterloo’s Dalton Berg kicks past a defender in a game earlier this year. Berg scored one of the ‘Dogs’ three goals last week against Mater Dei. (John Spytek photo)

The Columbia soccer team capped a busy week on Saturday night with a 4-0 shutout over Belleville East, improving their record to 17-2. Sean Rickey led the way with a goal and two assists, and Matthew Roderick, Kyle Gudeman, and Patrick McDermott also scored for the Eagles.

With the victory, Columbia was rewarded with the consolation trophy in the Gateway Classic, a premier tournament featuring some of the top teams in Missouri and Illinois. The host Eagles entered the showcase with hopes of winning the tournament, but those aspirations were dashed on Friday afternoon, when Columbia suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of Springfield Catholic.

It was an evenly played game, with each team trading scoring chances early on. Springfield Catholic finally got on the board five minutes into the second half, capitalizing on a failed clearance.

The Eagles would answer seven minutes later, when the ball ricocheted to Roderick, who booted it home for the equalizer.

The final 28 minutes of regulation were played to a stalemate, as each team toughened up on defense. The winner would be determined by penalty kicks.

The first five rounds of PK’s were all about the goalkeepers. Columbia’s Eddie Starr and the Irish goalie matched each other save-for-save, both making three stops. Rickey and Roderick converted their penalties to help send it to sudden death kicks. The game was still unsettled until the eighth round of PK’s. Zach Jonak’s narrow miss preceded a Springfield Catholic penalty score, sending the Irish to the semifinal, and the Eagles to the consolation bracket.

Columbia coach Jason Mathenia praised both teams after the thrilling match.

“They (Springfield Catholic) are a very, very good team,” he said. “We probably could have won it in regulation, but we failed to capitalize on some opportunities. But it was definitely an even, well-played game.”

Columbia bounced back from the heartbreaking loss with a 3-0 win over Morton (Illinois) on Saturday. The Eagles may have caught the Potters sleeping in the early morning game, going ahead 1-0 just 40 seconds into the game on a goal by Roderick. The speedy forward would add his second goal 20 minutes later with an incredible volley. Less than a minute later, Quinten Spivey scored on a 30-yard rocket, giving Columbia a comfortable lead.

Though disappointed that his team was unable to win the championship, Mathenia was happy with his team’s ability to bounce back from Friday’s heartbreaker.

“It was absolutely a good weekend for us,” he said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves after the loss and we did a great job of refocusing.”

Mathenia was also impressed with how the Eagles played without star midfielder Andrew Dossett, who is “day-to-day” with an injury.

Columbia preceded their successful weekend with two big victories, defeating Freeburg, 4-1, and Alton Marquette, 2-1. The Eagles will play Metro-East Lutheran on Wednesday before wrapping up the season against Alton on Thursday.

Other soccer action

Waterloo played three games last week, winning two and losing one. The Bulldogs defeated Mater Dei, 3-0, with Cole Kaiping, Kane Osterhage, and Dalton Berg scoring.

The next day, Waterloo fell to Jersey Community High School, 1-0. Osterhage and Tyler Begis helped the Bulldogs bounce back with a 2-0 victory over Civic Memorial. Waterloo hosted Mascoutah on Tuesday night, and finishes the regular season at Highland on Thursday.

Gibault completed an undefeated week, downing Teutopolis, Whitfield and Althoff. Mitch Meyer led the Hawks with five goals for the week, while Tyler Enright and Wes Degener had two goals apiece. Zach Rueter, Nick Row and Frank Mantia also found the net as the Hawks outscored their opponents, 12-1. Gibault is now 11-2-2 on the season.

The Hawks, who played Collinsville on Monday, close the season with trips to O’Fallon and Belleville East on Thursday and Saturday.

To purchase photos from this soccer season, click here.

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