Once again, it will be Borgia and Union meeting to determine a district soccer championship.
Both teams won Monday during the Class 2 District 7 semifinals in Sullivan.
Borgia (12-7), the top seed, defeated fourth-seeded Sullivan (6-9-2) in the first semifinal, 3-0.
“This district is tougher than people think,” Borgia Head Coach Jeff Hill said. “You’ve got to be ready. All of these teams are getting better every year. It’s a pleasure to be involved in this district.”
Second-seeded Union (20-3) defeated third-seeded Pacific (6-18) in the second semifinal, 5-1.
Borgia and Union will play Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the championship game at Sullivan High School.
“It was a good win,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said. “It’s good to be back into the championship game.”
Borgia is the defending district champion (beating Union last year) and edged Union early in the season on penalty kicks.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Hill said. “So far, we’ve had some younger girls who have stepped up. If we play like we are capable of playing and keep possession of the ball, we’ll get through this.”
Fennessey said it will be a difficult contest.
“It will be a tough game,” Fennessey said. “We’re going to give it everything we’ve got. They have some terrific talent and a great goalkeeper. We’re going to do our best to try to give them a good game.”
The winner will visit the District 8 champion next Tuesday in the sectional round.
Teams in District 8 are St. Dominic, St. Charles West, Duchesne and Warrenton. That district tournament, hosted by St. Charles West, opened Tuesday and the championship game is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m.
In the opener, Borgia struggled to find a way through Sullivan’s defense for much of the game.
The Lady Knights dominated possession and had many chances, but just weren’t able to convert most of the time.
Sophomore Janie Arand proved to be able to unlock the Sullivan defense just enough to give Borgia the win. She scored two goals and added an assist in Borgia’s 3-0 victory.
“We’re trying to get her to shoot more,” Hill said. “She’s got a lot of power and strength. She’s starting to get a little more active. She scored a goal the other night and she’s starting to smell blood. That’s good to see. We need the offensive production.”
Hill said there is room for improvement.
“I thought we played pretty well, but I think we could have played better,” Hill said. “Sullivan played pretty really good, too. Their sweeper and goalie played a very good game.”
Freshman Allie Wilson also scored while seniors Mary Catherine Cook and Jessica Diermann added assists.
“We did get fortunate to get three goals,” Hill said. “It made me a bit nervous because we weren’t scoring. We were shooting it right at the goalie, over the top or Sierra Fuchs, their sweeper, was getting to the ball. Sometimes that comes back to haunt you. In any sport, if you let someone hang around, the momentum can change.”
Senior Mackenzie Haddox made seven saves in goal for the shutout.
“The defense really came together in the second half of the season,” Hill said. “We really haven’t allowed a whole lot of goals.”
Sullivan’s statistics were not available as of press time.
Sullivan, the fourth seed, advanced by beating St. Clair Saturday.
Borgia scored its first goal 13:42 into the game. Cook worked in on the side of the touchline and crossed the ball to Arand who chipped it into the top left corner.
Borgia made it 2-0 just before the half. Arand scored again, hammering a loose ball into the goal after a corner kick. That goal came at the 38:48 mark.
Wilson scored on a tap-in at the 76:09 mark of the second half after the ball was crossed into the box from the left side.
Borgia has been playing lately without junior Jenna Hellebusch (knee). The Lady Knights also had to finish the game without senior Ana Ratcliff, who suffered a shoulder injury in the first half. The two have combined for 11 goals (six by Hellebusch) so far this season.
“Ana might be able to play Wednesday,” Hill said. “We’re hoping she will be able to come back.”
Union freshman Bethany Coons scored four times as Union moved past third-seeded Pacific in the other semifinal, 5-1.
Pacific deserves a lot of credit,” Fennessey said. “They came out here. They played hard and gave us a good match. Our girls were able to overcome that. Bethany Coons had a terrific night with four goals.”
Coons, who now has 54 goals on the season, also assisted on the other goal scored by sophomore Kayla Thornton.
“She’s a pretty special player,” Pacific Head Coach Todd Dempsey said about Coons. “You don’t score 54 goals by luck. She’s a good player. It’s good for our conference to have someone with the notoriety like that. I can’t say I like her too much as an opposing coach, but as a soccer fan, she’s a great player and fun to watch.”
Junior Alyssa Coons and senior Brittany Faber each had two assists in the game.
Junior Briana Lakebrink made five saves in goal for Union. The lone Pacific goal came on a penalty kick by senior Kim Myers.
Pacific used two goalkeepers in the game, Sydney Drysdale and Calli Phillips. Drysdale played the first 65 minutes.
“I just don’t think we played up to the way we played the last game,” said Dempsey. “Nobody is going to argue who the better team is. They outplayed us today and finished their opportunities.”
While Pacific pressured off the kickoff, Union quickly established a lead.
“I thought we started off pretty well for the first three or four minutes,” Dempsey said. “We were down in their end and giving them everything they could handle. It’s a shame we couldn’t have sustained that a little more.”
Just 8:46 into the contest, Bethany Coons scored after working in from the right side. Drysdale made a stop, but couldn’t control the ball. Pacific junior Emily Frazier followed the play all the way back to the post, but couldn’t stop the goal.
“It was good to get on the board early,” Fennessey said. “We were off to a slow start, though. The first five or six minutes, they were in our end, putting a some pressure on the goal. We just had to get out of our backfield. Once the girls started doing that, it got a lot better.”
At the 16:02 mark, Thornton scored after a throw-in deep in the Pacific end. Bethany Coons crossed the ball to her and earned the assist.
Less than two minutes later, Bethany Coons sprinted up the middle and scored off the left post.
Union demonstrated its fast ball movement again at the 25:04 mark with Bethany Coons scoring on a shot Drysdale deflected.
Union nearly made it 5-0 at the break. Alyssa Coons drilled a shot off the crossbar with 10 seconds left in the half.
Less than four minutes into the second half, Bethany Coons scored her fourth goal on a hard shot from about 15 yards out.
In the 46th minute, Union had the chance to add to the lead after a Pacific handball in the box. Freshman Emily Nowak was given the chance to take the kick, but her shot went high.
Union seemed to get another goal in the 64th minute with junior Abbie Brack putting the ball into the net, but it was flagged for being offsides.
In the 73rd minute, Myers was pulled down in the Union box. She stepped up and converted the penalty kick. Lakebrink got to the ball, but couldn’t deflect it out of the net.
“We’ll live through it and hopefully we won’t make that mistake again,” Fennessey said.
“It was nice to see Kim get a reward for how hard she’s worked,” Dempsey said. “Kim’s been our leader all season long. She’s led us in scoring. She kept going at it. She earned the foul. I don’t think there was any question who was taking the penalty kick once it was called. If I would have called somebody else’s name, she probably would have come over here and strangled me. She’s a good kid. All three of our seniors are going to be missed.”