Eagles top Hawks for regional glory

At center, Columbia’s Danny Repp is congratulated by teammate Jack Steckler after scoring in the first half to put the Eagles up 2-1 over Gibault in Saturday’s regional final. See more photos from the game at republictimes.smugmug.com.

In a rivalry high school soccer clash, Columbia won at home over Gibault on Saturday, 4-2, to capture a Class 1A regional title.

Gibault struck first, as Zachary Tayon knocked in a corner kick less than four minutes in. 

Columbia’s Jack Steckler netted the equalizer off a pass from Danny Repp about five minutes later. 

Repp then scored off his own rebound to put the Eagles up 2-1 in the first half. 

Following second half goals from Columbia’s Hayes van Breusegen and Ethan Riebeling, Gibault’s McKenzie Haudrich closed out the scoring in the 64th minute. 

“I felt like we came out pretty anxious but after they got that first goal quickly, we settled down and started getting some great opportunities,” Columbia head coach Jamey Bridges said after the win. “We have been battling some injuries, but a lot of guys really stepped up. Total team effort. Really proud of these guys.”

Steckler leads the Eagles in scoring with 31 goals and five assists. Cam Ellner has eight goals and 25 assists.

Columbia advanced to the Freeburg Sectional, where it battled Mater Dei on Tuesday night and lost 1-0 in overtime.

Saturday’s loss marked the final game for Gibault head coach Darryn Haudrich, who is opting to spend more time with his family. 

“Heading into the match, I thought we had a lot of momentum and confidence given the way we had competed in the previous two postseason games,” Haudrich said of the rivalry showdown. “I believe we trained well beforehand and knew their system and style of play well.  From the start of the game, the positive feeling of being well-prepared was confirmed with an early goal and the bulk of the dangerous opportunities. However, as the game progressed we broke down and became vulnerable in critical areas of the field. Those mistakes led to goals and ultimately put us in a position of fighting the remainder of the game. While I believe our group continued to battle, we just could not capitalize when needed, while they kept coming at us.”  

Haudrich added that the match was both emotional and fun to be a part of. 

“I take great pride in being part of the match, having worked with many of my players not only at the high school level, but club level as well, while having coached a handful of Columbia’s players at the club level also,” he said. “So, to see the talent on display for both sides and working to find success is really quite special for me as a coach.”

Haudrich said his team persevered through a challenging schedule and several injuries this season.  

“The results didn’t always show the work ethic, and I felt the momentum was growing and growing as the season carried along,” Haudrich said. “I’ll remember my time fondly not by how we finished, but by the moments along the way. Silver linings, growing in our faith, service to others and being resilient are my character traits for this group and my views for the season as a whole.  It was a blessing to be the boys soccer coach at Gibault, to be the coach of this group and I truly feel honored to have been part of such a storied program for the past decade.”

In other soccer action, Waterloo (9-11) closed its regular season with a 2-1 win over Mascoutah last Tuesday followed by a 4-0 loss to Highland on Thursday.

Grant Eugea and Christian Schramm scored the goals for Waterloo in the Mascoutah win. 

The Bulldogs played Carterville to open Class 2A Carbondale Regional play Tuesday night, falling 2-0 to end their season.

Jake Cooling led the team in scoring with 10 goals and two assists this season.

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