Sabers survive marathon soccer match

Sabers survive marathon soccer match

BLOOMINGTON — Not long after the St. Thomas More girls’ soccer team won a marathon sectional semifinal, the reality of what awaits hit.

“We’ve got a Goliath on Friday,” said Sabers coach James Johnson, whose team will face perennial power Quincy Notre Dame. The Raiders have won two of the last three Class 1A state titles.

That’s the reward for STM after knocking off Peoria Christian 3-2 in penalty kicks.
The Sabers (14-5-1) took leads in the second half and overtime on goals from area leader Jade Brinkoetter, but Peoria Christian answered moments later both times.

“It was even the whole way through,” Johnson said. “Just a battle.”

It took 11 penalty attempts to finally end the match. Brinkoetter, who had missed an earlier attempt, scored to put the Sabers ahead. And Lexi Wallen — who took and hit the Sabers’ ninth penalty try — stopped the Chargers’ final shot.

“Then we rushed the field,” Johnson said.

The sectional final is at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Bloomington Central Catholic.

Quincy Notre Dame and a pair of all-state forwards — “maybe the best two we’ve seen,” Johnson said — awaits.

“We expect to win,” Johnson said. “We’re going to give it all we have and see what happens.”