Freshman Kara Voss scored twice Monday to lead the Borgia soccer Lady Knights to the Class 2 District 8 championship over St. Clair, 2-0.
Voss netted goals in the third and 56th minutes to give the top-seeded Lady Knights their third consecutive district championship. All three titles came against St. Clair.
“It was extremely pleasing to get the victory we were hoping for,” Borgia Head Coach Andrew Allen said.
“It was a very tough loss for our team,” St. Clair Head Coach Tim Isgrig said. “I thought it was a pretty even game. They had two broken-play goals in front of the goal. The ball just bounced against us. It seemed like we had some bad luck. We were in the box a lot and had opportunities, but Hannah Overman gave us trouble. She’s a pretty good player. We just couldn’t get on the end of one. We were in front a few times, but just couldn’t put one away.”
Voss was happy to be the scorer.
“It was very exciting,” Voss said. “I was very grateful for my team to pass me the ball.”
Senior Chelsea Pohl recorded the shutout in net with plenty of help from her defense.
“It feels pretty good to win the title,” Pohl said. “We’ve had a pretty good week so far. We hope to keep going at the sectional. St. Clair has a lot of girls with speed, but Hannah Overman does, too and she took care of it. I didn’t have to worry about too much with her back there.”
Borgia (8-16) was the top seed and tournament host. It was Borgia’s seventh consecutive district title match. St. Clair (14-8-1) was the third seed and came into the event after upsetting No. 2 Sullivan in penalty kicks Saturday.
Borgia never gave St. Clair the chance to build momentum, scoring with 37:04 left in the opening half.
“At the beginning of the game, I reminded them about how upsetting it’s been to get scored on in the first five minutes and that it would be nice to do that for a change,” Allen said. “Apparently the girls listened. It was nice.”
Haley Herbst set up the goal with a long throw-in, and it got past just about everyone.
“I probably classify it as a fluke goal,” Allen said. “That’s one of the nice things about Haley. She can put it in there and that’s when small mistakes turn into goals.”
Voss was at the right place at the right time.
“I managed to hit it enough and it deflected off the goalie,” Voss said.
It was still 1-0 at the half and St. Clair worked for the equalizer in the second 40-minute session.
“About eight minutes into the second half, we started to push,” Isgrig said. “We pushed Anna Merseal and Amanda Baumruk up and that made us not as strong in the back. That’s part of the reason they got the second goal. We had to make a move. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1-0 or 7-0, it’s the same thing. We created a whole bunch of opportunities in the last 20 minutes. We just couldn’t finish one off.
Borgia took advantage of its next good chance. Haley Herbst, another freshman, passed the ball to Voss on the left as St. Clair goalkeeper Kenzie Schmidtke came out.
“I knew I couldn’t stop,” Voss said. “I was lucky enough to get the ball through her. I was very nervous, but managed to get it into the goal.”
Voss took a weak shot which rolled toward the goal as two St. Clair defenders pursued. The ball won the race to the line and went over before they could clear it, making it 2-0.
“I was immediately impressed with Kara on that goal,” Allen said. “She had to bust her butt to get into position to get that goal. She had to go through the defender and the goalie with two more defenders coming quickly. It was a good goal.”
Allen said Borgia’s difficult schedule, especially against Archdiocesan Athletic Association squads, prepared the Lady Knights for the title game.
“We’re playing our best soccer at the right time,” Allen said. “When you’ve got to play as fast as we have to play against the AAA teams, it’s nice when the game slows down a little and we can see the passes. That doesn’t happen against the teams we play in the regular season.”
Allen feels confident heading into Saturday’s sectional game against an opponent to be determined. St. Charles West is the top seed in District 7 and won over Winfield Monday in the semifinals, 7-0. O’Fallon Christian, the second seed, beat Lutheran St. Charles in the other semifinal, 3-1. The title game is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“I don’t know who we will play,” Allen said. “There are some good teams in District 7. We will have to treat it like an AAA game where we might not possess the ball as much. We will have to put away the chances we get.”
Both Voss and Pohl feel the team can win Saturday, but it will take more hard work and flawless execution.
“We have to build team chemistry, talk more and I think we can push through,” Voss said.
“It will take a lot of focus and energy to push through,” Pohl said. “We’ll have to stay focused, come out and have some fun.”
St. Clair has three players graduate from this year’s team, Anna Merseal, Gabi Lindsey and Kelsey Wachter.
“We lose three great kids, some of the best people I’ve ever coached,” Isgrig said. “Anna, Gabi and Kelsey did so much for our program. They’re going to be hard to replace.”