Columbia soars to regional title

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The Columbia High School girls soccer team hoists its Class 1A regional championship plaque following a 2-0 victory over Gibault at Oerter Park on Saturday. See more photos at republictimes.smugmug.com.

Things didn’t look to be in championship form for the Columbia High School girls soccer team after they dropped a fourth straight match to fall to 7-7-1 on the season back on April 26.

But what a difference a month makes. 

The Eagles have not lost since then, improving their season mark to 15-7-1 with a 2-0 victory over rival Gibault in a Class 1A regional final at Oerter Park on Saturday. 

The Eagles have won eight straight matches, outscoring opponents 76-1 during that stretch.

On Saturday, the Hawks made it tough for Columbia to score early on. Gibault goalkeeper Katie Tomiser turned away several shots, plus the Eagles clanked a couple of shots off the posts. 

But Columbia finally broke through with just more than nine minutes remaining in the first half. Reese Woelfel scored off an assist from Maddie Mauch to make it 1-0. 

With the Hawks pushing hard to tie the match, Woelfel returned the favor to Mauch, assisting on her goal from 35 yards out with 5:40 remaining in the contest.

“We played well and had great opportunities, and showed a lot of maturity by not getting frustrated with missed chances,” Columbia head coach Jamey Bridges said.

Brooklyn Oestreich made six saves in net for the Eagles.

“We have been gaining confidence and really starting to gel,” Bridges added. “Hopefully that continues this week.”

Columbia opened its postseason with a 21-0 win over DuQuoin last Wednesday. Riley Mathews netted three goals and had four assists. Woelfel added three goals and two assists. Taylor Martin also netted a hat trick.

Columbia advanced to the Roxana Sectional, where it will face Mater Dei at 4 p.m. Wednesday. With a win, the Eagles would face the winner of Althoff vs. Freeburg for the sectional title at 4 p.m. Friday.

The winner of this sectional advances to the Columbia Super-Sectional this coming Tuesday. 

Mauch has 28 goals and 16 assists to lead the Eagles this season. Martin has 16 goals and six assists. Woelfel has 13 goals and 11 assists. 

Gibault ended its season with a record of 7-10-2. The Hawks won 9-0 over Pinckneyville last Wednesday to advance to the final. 

Emily Richardson scored five goals, Elena Oggero added two goals and Reece Ward contributed a goal and an assist for the Hawks in that victory.

In Class 2A, Waterloo (18-4-1) opened its postseason in style with an 8-0 victory Tuesday at Centralia. Payton Richter netted six goals for the Bulldogs, who will face the winner of Carterville vs. Olney in the regional final this Friday night. Richter set a new single-season goals record at WHS with 38 this spring.

The winner of the Centralia Regional advances to the Triad Sectional taking place this coming Tuesday night. 

Prior to Monday’s win, Waterloo closed out its regular season with a 10-0 win over Mt. Vernon. 

Richter netted a hat trick, Ellie Schwehr added two goals and three assists, and Sophie Colson had a goal and two assists. 

Colson has 11 goals and 14 assists on the season. 

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