M-S blanks Central in soccer
URBANA — Mahomet-Seymour’s freshly crowned regional championship girls’ soccer team enjoyed a celebratory evening meal Friday night at Fazoli’s, paid for by fundraising the team did.
If the Bulldogs maintain a postseason run in Class 2A, the treats are on coach Joey Gruner. “If they win sectional, I’ll buy them a meal,” Gruner said.
The Bulldogs (15-4) scored twice within a 49-second stretch midway through the second half and blanked Champaign Central 2-0 in the regional finals on Urbana’s turf field.
The halftime deadlock against an opponent M-S had beaten in the regular season wasn’t due to a letdown on the Bulldogs’ side.
“It’s a credit to their coach, their strategy and the effort their girls gave,” Gruner said. “It was a quite different game.”
Sarah VanWingerden scored unassisted from 25 yards at 18:44 of the second half. Before a minute had elapsed, Morgan DeHaan took a pass from Lauren Longfellow and put a chip shot in the net. M-S senior goalkeeper Tori Rolson stopped all five Central shots.
“Central came out playing hard,” Gruner said. “They were pushing a lot of people forward and pulling a lot of people back.
“I think they began to wear down, and we were finally able to break through. They were tough to crack.”
M-S kept area scoring leader Maddy Chalifoux, a junior with 34 season goals, in check.
“She’s a great goal scorer, and she was our focus,” Gruner said. “When she got the ball, we knew she was looking to score, and when others got the ball, we knew they were looking to her.”
It took a group effort for the venture to be successful.
Paige Roberts was one of the M-S defenders with primary responsibility for covering Chalifoux.
“We had five defensive players back there and help from midfielder Sarah VanWingerden.”
Other Bulldogs defenders in the mix were Longfellow, Kylie Lenschow, Karsyn Routh and Megan Anders.
The regional crown is the fifth for the school in 12 years.
One more win will not only advance the school into the sectional finals but also will give M-S its winningest season in girls’ soccer. The 2012 team, coached by Gruner, compiled a 15-3-1 record.
M-S will start for its breakthrough first sectional title Tuesday with a 4 p.m. match at Normal West. The opponent will be the winner of Saturday’s Morris/Yorkville match.
Central’s Abi Manaster had seven saves. She was one of five Maroons to conclude their prep careers. The team’s other seniors are Emily Engelbrecht-Wiggans, Sheena Khan, Haley Plattner and Susie Reardanz. Coach Mick Galeski’s sixth Central team finished with a 13-8 record.
In Tuesday’s 6 p.m. sectional semifinal, Normal West will play Mattoon. The Green Wave (14-9-1) upended Danville (5-15-1) in overtime Friday. The teams were tied 1-1 after 100 minutes, but Mattoon won on penalty kicks, 2-1.