The high school soccer season is going down to the wire, with only a couple of regular season games remaining until regionals start next week.
Defending Class 2A state runner-up Gibault is looking strong down the stretch, going 1-0-2 in three recent matches against larger schools.
The Hawks flew past O’Fallon at home last Tuesday on senior night, 4-1.
“I felt that the atmosphere and environment really helped fuel the team as we celebrated senior night,” Gibault head coach Darryn Haudrich said.
Despite falling behind 1-0 on a defensive lapse, the Hawks tied it late in the first half to make it 1-1. Karson Huels had a great effort at the top of the box to beat a few defenders before turning to fire a seeing-eye shot into the net.
“We made a few positional changes at half and they paid off with three more goals,” Haudrich said.
First, Cameron Kincheloe scored on a smart play crafted by Logan Doerr.
Doerr then found the net twice himself on goals the head coach classified as his best this season.
“The first he rang off the far post inside the box with precise aim, and the second on a glorious free kick 25 yards out and nailed it off the crossbar down and in,” Haudrich explained. “It’s the best goal I have ever seen him score. It was really something special to watch.”
Senior goalkeeper Will Janson also got into the act with a late penalty kick save to preserve the 4-1 victory.
“The seniors were all magical on their night and captured their moment,” Haudrich said.
On Saturday, the Hawks battled Triad to a 1-1 tie. Antonio Pepe scored on an assist from Doerr. Connor Olson made nine saves to preserve the tie.
On Monday, the Hawks tied Alton, 3-3. Huels scored two goals and assisted on another. Doerr recorded a goal and an assist.
Huels and Doerr are tied for the team scoring lead with 15 goals and 11 assists each. Tate Schilling has five goals and five assists.
Gibault closes the regular season at Belleville West on Thursday before opening regional play Tuesday at Waterloo High School against the winner of Mascoutah vs. Highland.
Also playing in the Class 2A Waterloo Regional next week are the host Bulldogs (10-8-3), but first they have a score to settle with Mississippi Valley Conference rival Triad.
The Knights defeated Waterloo, 2-1, on Sept. 13 to take the MVC lead.
Waterloo went undefeated in MVC play last year. Waterloo is 8-1 in the conference this year entering Thursday’s rematch. The Bulldogs also open regional play against the Knights on Tuesday.
Last Tuesday, Waterloo posted a 1-0 win over Mascoutah. Brady Marshall scored the game’s only goal on an assist from Eli Gardner. Sam Ward made five saves for the shutout in net.
On Thursday, Waterloo defeated Highland, 1-0. Hayden Reese scored on an assist from Derek Young. Ward again made five saves for the shutout.
Young leads the team in scoring with eight goals and four assists. Gardner is next with three goals and 13 assists.
Columbia (18-3-3) went 2-1 in three recent matches.
Last Tuesday, the Eagles dropped a 3-1 contest at Collinsville. Alex Barton scored the lone goal for the Eagles.
On Thursday, Columbia took down Alton, 2-1. Cameron Eden scored two second half goals to propel the Eagles to victory.
On Friday, the Eagles flew past Freeburg, 4-1. Karson Bridges recorded the hat trick and Eden added a goal for good measure.
Alec Venhaus was solid in net all three games for Columbia, which defeated Marquette, 3-2, Tuesday night.
Columbia concludes regular season play Saturday at Belleville West before opening regional play next Wednesday in Bethalto against Jerseyville.
With scoring leader Riley Hubler injured for the season, Bridges now leads the team with 16 goals and eight assists. Barton is next with 14 goals and six assists.
In Class 1A, Valmeyer (1-17) ended its season Saturday at the Freeburg Regional, falling 7-1 to Wesclin.
Braden Miller scored for the Pirates on an assist from Jayden Schilling.