For anyone wanting to catch the MCHS soccer game tonight -
Tonight's game not at the high school, it's a couple blocks away. See note from Jack:
When you arrive in Raymond, continue around the curve and head north to the last 4 way stop with a boat shop on the right. One block more and you’ll turn right on Springfield Road. You’ll go over the Railroad tracks and on down the road another 1000 feet or so. The soccer field is on the left. The bus driver should let the team out at the soccer field and then park the bus across the road at the baseball diamond.
There are only two small bleachers so I imagine many of our fans will bring lawn chairs. There are two permanent bathrooms plus two more port-a-potties. There will be hot chocolate and pork patties for sale at the concession stand.
FREEBURG — Players from Marquette and Althoff were in a daze following Friday night’s Freeburg Class 1A Sectional Tourney title game. Some sat on the artificial turf at Freeburg High School in shock. Some were dismayed. All were exhausted.And the Marquette players were also jubilant, following a nail-biting 2-1 victory over Althoff.
“It was a strange game,” Marquette captain Chris Hartrich said. “We had most of the momentum in the first half, then we had to work our tails off in the second half.
“When you’re a kid, you dream about doing this. To have it happen is an amazing, awesome feeling.”
The Explorers 14-6-3 played nearly 12 minutes of the second half shorthanded after forward Aaron Boulch received his second yellow card. Marquette led 2-0 at that point, but soon found itself protecting a one-goal lead when the Crusaders scored shortly after.
But the game ended with both teams a man down after Althoff’s Riley Sullivan received his second yellow card when he fouled Hartrich from behind with 4:50 remaining.
“It was crazy,” Marquette first-year coach Joe Burchett said. “I’m not sure I’ve seen a game quote like this.
“It feels amazing to win,” Burchett said. “It was a struggle, but these boys found a way to win. They dug deep. They didn’t want the season to end yet.”
It won’t. The Explorers will play the winner of the Macon Sectional on Tuesday in the Raymond Lincolnwood Super-Sectional game. Beardstown and Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin will play in the title game at 1 p.m. Saturday. The winner of the super-sectional will advance to the Class 1A State Tournament Friday and Saturday in East Peoria.
Boulch’s yellow cards were just two of seven shown during the game. Marquette received five of those yellows, including one to Burchett for dissent as the first half ended.
The yellow cards affected how the game was played much of the second half, Burchett said.
“We had to be extra careful. It affects how you play the game,” Burchett said. “Some of the yellows were unwarranted, I felt, but that’s how it goes.”
Two yellows not only meant Boulch was unavailable the rest of Friday’s game. He will also be forced the sit out the super-sectional game. He has 18 goals and 13 assists.
Boulch’s first yellow card came early in the second half when he tried to break up a confrontation between a teammate and an Althoff player. He received his second yellow when, after being whistled offside on a breakaway, he continued dribbling toward the goal and took a point-blank shot.
That came moments after Hartrich had put the Explorers up 2-0 on a goal that saw him and Boulch each beat a pair of Althoff Crusaders on a counter attack down the right side.
Boulch sent the ball through to Hartrich, who split two defenders and outraced Althoff goalie Stone Galloway to the ball. While falling backward, Hartrich poked the ball past Galloway and into the left side of the goal.
“That goal was a perfect example of how important those two are,” Burchett said. “Chris has such good balance and his soccer IQ is phenomenal. He is one of the leaders of this team.”
The Explorers controlled much of the first half and grabbed an early lead on a head-ball goal from Nick Lafata a long free kick by Kwame Ngwa.
Ngwa lofted the ball from the right sideline about 40 yard out toward the left goal post, where Lafata leaped high and headed it inside the post in the 19th minute.
“(Lafata) has such good technical skills,” Birdsong said. “That goal was a really nice goal.”
One of Althoff’s leaders, Jimmy Monken, made it 2-1 when he scored with 16:03 remaining when he took a through ball from the midfield and broke in on Marquette goalie Nick Hemann.
“Our kids played well,” Althoff coach Skip Birdsong said. “In a physical game like this, a lot of things happen. But I thought our boys represented our team and the school well.”
From that point, it was almost like a shooting gallery, with Hemann and the Marquette goal as the target.
“Being a man down makes it very hard to organize an offensive attack in a situation kike this,” Burchett said. “But our guys didn’t hold back. They played smart and they did what they needed to do.”
By Pete Hayes - firstname.lastname@example.org