Mahomet-Seymour, Centennial advance to regional final

Mahomet-Seymour, Centennial advance to regional final

URBANA — Though the scoreboard displayed a sizable difference between No. 4 Centennial and No. 7 Urbana in Tuesday night's first of two Class 2A girls' soccer regional semifinal matches, the tilt wasn't so straightforward.

The Big 12 Conference rivals played to a 3-all draw in an April 18 meeting, and the Chargers possessed a one-goal lead after 40 minutes in the rematch.

"We went up 2-0 last time and did not have our focus. Just took it a little bit easy," Centennial coach Jim Meissen said. "Stayed on it, stayed on it, stayed on it this time."

That emphasis on not relaxing pushed the Chargers past the Tigers 5-0, advancing Centennial (7-13-1) to Friday's 5 p.m. regional championship match.

"The first time we played them, we really didn't play up to our standards," said Chargers junior Cassidy Strode, who scored the match's last three tallies. "We came in wanting redemption, really. ... We really just wanted to win this game."

That mission got off on the right foot when Urbana (5-11-6) deposited the ball into its own net less than 40 seconds in.

Tigers coach David Dunlap deemed it a "miscommunication" between defender Cara Munro and goalkeeper Hannah Null, set up by Liz Coats delivering a cross toward Strode in the box.

"The defender has to make a play on the ball, and that it went in is whatever," Meissen said, "but it's a great ball, great opportunity."

Urbana had a couple of those in the second half, including a marker from Macy Wirtz that was wiped out by an offsides call and a shot from America Moreno Duran that drilled the underside of the crossbar.

"We've got to finish," Dunlap said. "We have girls that can score goals, and then there's finishers."

Dunlap described Centennial's Olivia DeVriese as such.

She proved it by turning a Katie Bell free kick into the Chargers' second goal, between the Wirtz and Moreno Duran near-misses for Urbana.

Sarah Cleveland wound up with six saves in the cage for Centennial, and Strode did the rest to give the Chargers a shot at their first regional plaque since 2017.

"We want to bring home the regional title again, as we did two years ago," Strode said. "So we're excited."

Bulldogs roll. Brea Benson produced a hat trick in the first 4 minutes, 37 seconds of Tuesday night's second Class 2A Urbana Regional semifinal match, easily lifting No. 1 Mahomet-Seymour past No. 8 Danville 9-0.

Cayla Koerner, Lauren Schnepper and Lilia Isaac each potted two goals and Haley Lester contributed two assists for the Bulldogs (23-1), who seek their fourth consecutive regional championship at 5 p.m. Friday against Centennial.

"I sent out a message in the group text that said, 'You never can underestimate an opponent,'" M-S coach Kelsie Briggs said. "And it said something about, 'You're not a champion until you prove it.' So that's the mindset we came into the game with is we've got to earn this win."

The Vikings finished 4-14-3 on the year.