Second place in the Four Rivers Conference belongs to the Lady Bulldogs.
St. Clair (10-7-1, 4-1) concluded girls soccer conference play on the road at Pacific (6-10, 3-2) Thursday with a 1-0 victory.
The Lady Bulldogs finish as the runner-up behind Union, which continued its streak of 15 consecutive conference championships with an undefeated run in league play.
“Taking second in conference, we’re proud of that and when the girls wrote down goals for themselves before the year, they came up with that goal,” St. Clair Head Coach Tim Isgrig said. “We wanted to finish top two in the conference and tonight did that for us and we’re proud of that.”
Pacific finished as the No. 3 team in the conference after Thursday’s contest, which had originally been scheduled for the first week of the season. The game was pushed back from its original date of March 20 due to the installation of the new turf field at Pacific still being in progress at the time.
“Unfortunately in the first two minutes they got a goal in,” Pacific Head Coach Dana Kelm said. “It was slippery. ... I thought (we) played really well and sometimes the score doesn’t reflect how well you played and that’s what I told (our players) tonight. I was proud of how they played.”
The Lady Bulldogs netted the game-winning goal within the first minute of play. A throw-in from Gracie Sohn near the corner slipped away from Pacific goalkeeper Emmaline Steel and St. Clair freshman forward Kaitlyn Janson was able to boot it in.
“Gracie again was dangerous for us,” Isgrig said. “She put it in the box. We’ve been talking to Kaitlyn about being hungry in the box. She’s a freshman, so her first year playing with us, and on that play she went after it. She got us ahead and we were able to haul into it.”
The conditions dried out as the game progressed after rainfall for much of the day left the field damp at the start. As the weather dried up, the defenses clamped down.
St. Clair goalkeeper Courtney Williams earned the shutout with three saves.
It was the eighth shutout of the season for Williams and the St. Clair defense.
Isgrig praised his defensive back four of Sohn, Haley Buscher, Emma Smith and Erin York.
“(Pacific) had a couple of threatening chances, but I don’t think they had a shot on goal from inside of probably 25 yards,” Isgrig said. “So, we did a good job of competing on the defensive end. They had (Paige) Allen, (Abby) Layton and (Maddie King) — they’re all good players up top (for Pacific). We knew coming in we were going to have our hands full with them and I thought we did a good job against them, holding our own.”
Steel recorded 12 saves in the net for Pacific.
“The top, Paige Allen and Abby Layton — they’re always an island unto themselves and they played really well tonight,” Kelm said. “Emmaline, she played great I thought in goal. For being so young as a freshman in goal this season, she’s done really well. Carly Clark, I was impressed with her tonight controlling the midfield and Haley Lucas, that little firecracker — she was on again.”
Pacific is looking forward to getting back to full strength in the final week of the regular season.
“We’ve had four starters that have been out for a little while and it’s nice to get them back next week and we should have all of our starters back to how we started the season,” Kelm said.
St. Clair will conclude the regular season this week with three consecutive games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, starting with a trip to Valley Park Monday at 3:30 p.m.
Pacific hosts St. Francis Borgia Regional Friday night at 6:45 p.m. in a game likely to determine which of the two will play Union and which will play Washington in the Class 3 District 9 Tournament. It will be Pacific’s senior night and the final home game of the season.