Lady Jays Take Town Showdown, Teams to Face Off Again Monday

By Bill Battle

Missourian Sports Editor

If you like offensive soccer, St. Francis Borgia Regional was where you wanted to be Thursday night.

In the latest installment of the Town Showdown, the Washington Lady Jays rolled to a 6-2 win over Borgia.

“It was a good game,” Washington Head Coach Adam Fischer said. “It was a physical game, which most sporting events between the two town teams usually are. I felt that our girls did a good job of just playing soccer and staying focused on what we wanted to do.”

While the teams aren’t in the same conference, there always is a lot of energy in the matchup.

“Washington versus Borgia always is going to be a fun rivalry game,” Borgia Head Coach Mackenzie Severino said. “Both teams came ready to play and both wanted to win. It was our senior night and our girls wanted to win. I’m sure they wanted to do well on our senior night. Emotions were high and it was just one of those games.”

The good news is that if you missed that game, they play again Monday in the opening round of the Class 3 District 9 playoffs in Pacific. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

Washington (16-8) is the second seed in the district event while Borgia (6-16-1) is ranked third. Union is the top seed and Pacific is fourth. Those two teams play in the other semifinal at 5 p.m.

However, the weather is expected to be similar to Thursday night’s unseasonable low temperatures with a forecast high of 66 and low of 45 with northwest winds.

“We moved some people around to save some fresh legs because, obviously, we see them again Monday,” Fischer said. “It almost feels like the aggregate in Europe where they have to play two games in four or five days. They’re a good team. We did a pretty good job on them.”

Severino said it was a chance to test tactics for the playoff game.

“We definitely can’t keep kicking and chasing,” Severino said. “It’s not going to work against their defense. We have to be smarter about passing and moving into open space. We’ve got to find feet on passes. We’ve got to make smarter decisions on the field and that will help.”

In Thursday’s game, the Lady Jays needed 7:37 to get onto the scoreboard. After pressuring the Borgia end early, Rebekah Lewis ripped a shot off the bottom of the crossbar. The officials ruled it had crossed the line.

That score held up for much of the half until Borgia’s Cailey Foss attacked the Washington net. Her initial shot was saved by Ariel Pettis, but Foss pounced on the rebound to tie it with 16:04 to play in the half.

Parity lasted for 1:11. Washington again attacked the goal and Cierstyn Jacquin put the Lady Jays back in front with a goal.

Play was physical and aggressive between the two sides and it resulted in a Washington penalty kick with 3:36 to go in the half. Sarah Becszlko calmly stepped up to the spot and beat Borgia’s Abby Mueller with her shot.

Just 55 seconds later, Lewis completed her brace, making a run of about 50 yards up the middle of the field to make it 4-1 with 2:41 remaining in the half. That’s how the teams went to the intermission.

That score held up for much of the second half. The Lady Jays were awarded another penalty kick and Taylor Bauer hit the back of the net with 24:07 to play.

Borgia fought back and made it 5-2 with 16:16 to play on a goal from Ella Riegel, who beat Joie Heien. Pettis had another school function to attend and had to leave at halftime. Heien, a field player, stepped into net for the Lady Jays.

“We had our starting goalie go to another school function she shouldn’t miss and we put in a field player who hasn’t played goal,” Fischer said. “She did a pretty good job. She made one really good stop. Ariel begged to play the whole game, but school stuff is just as important. In the grand scheme of things, this didn’t mean anything. Joie played goal in sixth or seventh grade. She’s just an athlete and she did a good job for us. All of the girls who touched the field tonight for us played well.”

Washington added a final goal with 11:55 to play. Abbey Baldwin drilled a long free kick into the goal to make it 6-2 and that’s how it ended.

“I think we’ve really got an advantage with our speed on the outside,” Fischer said. “Caitlyn Vodnansky, Jenna Monehan and Sarah Becszlko do a good job of pressuring their defenders in the box to make a decision. Tonight, they just got them a couple of times from behind. On one corner kick, their girl just got underneath Taylor Bauer and took her down. Our girls did a good job.”

Severino said Washington earned its goals.

“Kudos to them for being in the right place at the right time,” Severino said. “They finished on the PKs and the free kick. The free kick was an awesome shot. I don’t know if there was much Abby could have done on that one. They came out strong. They moved the ball around the field very well and they have a great defensive line. Give them credit.”

Unfortunately, in a physical game, there was one significant injury. Borgia’s Gretchen Overman had to leave the game in the second half due to an ankle injury. Severino said an early injury was aggravated and is hopeful of having her in the lineup Monday when the teams meet in the district playoffs.

“We really don’t know right now,” Severino said. “Hopefully, she can play Monday. She’s pretty important to our team.”

Thursday’s game marked the second meeting between the two teams. Washington also won the third-place game of the Blue Cat Tournament May 1, 3-1.