The Waterloo, Gibault and Columbia girls soccer teams are wrapping up the regular season and preparing for the postseason.
The Waterloo girls have improved their record to 11-4-1, but have had an up-and-down stretch in recent weeks.
While the Bulldogs have notched big wins over the likes of Freeburg, Alton and Orchard Farm, they also dropped important games against Alton Marquette and conference rival Highland.
Despite the losses, Waterloo is still in good position to win the Mississippi Valley Conference, and with several significant games against conference opponents remaining, all at their home field, they can control their own destiny.
On Monday, Waterloo blasted Jerseyville, 9-0. Erika Lloyd scored three goals and Hope Elliott contributed a goal and five assists. Lloyd leads the team in goals with 14; Elliott leads the team in assists with 12.
Looking ahead to the Class 2A postseason, Waterloo has been assigned to the Mascoutah Regional along with Mascoutah, Highland and Triad. Class 2A seeding will be announced later this week. Regardless of seeding, the Bulldogs are certainly aspiring for a long postseason run in addition to their conference title hopes.
The Hawks continue to gain momentum after a slow start to the season. With a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Catholic rival Althoff on Saturday, the Hawks improved their record to 7-8-1 heading into a Tuesday matchup with Alton Marquette.
Gibault has slowly been building confidence in the past few weeks, notching wins over Mascoutah and Wesclin, and losing tough but well-played games against St. Pius and O’Fallon.
Even in the losses, the Hawks have shown definite signs of improvement.
“We’ve definitely made progress over the last few weeks,” Gibault head coach Matt Reeb said. “Several of our injured players have begun practicing and playing limited minutes in games. As they progress we should be as close to full strength as we can be for this season.”
Bree Hasenstab and Courtney Olson are tied for the team lead in goals with five each. Hasenstab leads in assists with seven.
Following Tuesday’s match at Marquette, the Hawks will close the regular season with two home games next week. They host Freeburg next Monday before honoring their seniors next Thursday against Belleville East.
Gibault hopes to finish the regular season strong and head into the Class 1A playoffs on a high note. The Hawks received the number one seed in the regional, which includes Massac County, Harrisburg and host Anna Jonesboro. Regional play kicks off May 13, giving the Hawks plenty of time to prepare.
“For the upcoming weeks, we need to focus on finishing getting healthy, and mentally adjusting to the players that are coming back,” he said.
Reeb also stressed the importance of playing to their strengths, namely, their staunch defense.
“The strength of our team, as it has been all year long, is our defense,” he said. “We will have to rely on it heavily come playoff time. We hope to be playing our best soccer in a few weeks when the playoffs come around.”
The Eagles (6-8) are holding their own as they face the toughest portion of their schedule. In recent weeks, Columbia has dropped two contests to top-tier St. Louis teams.
First was a tough 3-1 loss to Cor Jesu on April 16. Blair Wittenbrink scored the Eagles’ only goal in the matchup. A week later, Columbia fell to another powerhouse. This time it wasn’t as close, as they lost 8-0 to undefeated Nerinx Hall.
There were, however, plenty of positives for the Eagles within the past two weeks. Sandwiched between the two losses was a dominant 4-0 victory over Mascoutah. Lauren Kaempfe scored twice and Lauren Tolan and Cassie Wood added a goal apiece.
The Eagles lost 4-1 on Monday to Washington.
Even the losses against stacked competition should provide plenty of valuable experience for Columbia as they hit the final stretch of the regular season. The Eagles visit Mehlville next Monday before hosting O’Fallon next Thursday for Senior Night. Then, the playoff journey begins.
Columbia was slotted as the two seed in the Freeburg Regional, and will open play against Freeburg on May 13.