GIRLS SOCCER: ‘Dogs win regional; Eagles stunned in OT

Waterloo’s Sydney Stephens jumps into the arms of a teammate to celebrate after scoring the go-ahead goal in the rain during Friday’s regional title game. For more photos from the game, click here. (John Spytek photo)

In a rainy Friday evening for postseason girls soccer action, Waterloo trudged on while Columbia ended its season in heartbreak.

The Bulldogs bested Rochester in the Class 2A Bethalto Regional, winning 3-1. Waterloo took a 1-0 lead in the first half on the first of two goals by sophomore midfielder Sydney Stephens.

Rochester tied the game early in the second half and had several solid chances to take the lead, but the Bulldogs held strong.

With nine minutes left in regulation, Stephens willed her way to the game-winning goal to put Waterloo up 2-1. The Bulldogs added a late insurance goal by all-time scoring leader Sydney Luedeman on a goalkeeper error.

Waterloo (16-2-3) advances to the Marion Sectional, where it will take on Marion at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

In the Class 1A Columbia Sectional title game, the host Eagles and Althoff were locked in a scoreless battle for nearly 100 minutes before freshman midfielder Julia O’Neill scored with three seconds left in overtime to give the Crusaders a 1-0 victory.

The game looked to be heading toward penalty kicks when O’Neill, who graduated from Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Waterloo before attending Althoff, kicked the ball past Columbia goalkeeper Rylee Iorio.

Althoff goalkeeper Rachel Monken was sensational in net, recording 14 saves in the game. Althoff defenders bailed her out of other jams, kicking away near goals by the Eagles. Rachel’s sister, defender Sophie Monken, cleared away a shot from Columbia scoring leader Kennedy Jones early in the second half that looked to be a sure goal.

Columbia, who also lost to Althoff on March 17, finished its season at 22-4.

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