Jackson wraps up Optimist soccer crown with shutout

Sunday, March 30, 2003

The Jackson girls walked away with a trophy Saturday that embodies their attitude entering the soccer season.

Behind a goal by sophomore Molly Hartmann and shutout goaltending by senior Whitney Werner, Jackson turned back Perryville 1-0 in the championship game of the Noon Optimist Spring Classic at Notre Dame Regional High School.

The Indians, who return nine starters off their first district championship team, already were an optimistic group entering the season-opening tournament, and three shutouts only confirmed the possibilities.

"I think we have a very good chance of winning districts again and bringing back the title," Hartmann said.

"I was impressed with how we played out here in this tournament," said Werner, a second-team all-state selection last year. "I'm looking forward to the season."

Jackson's offense produced 11 goals over the tournament. After opening its season with a 6-0 win over Poplar Bluff on Friday, Jackson advanced to the final earlier Saturday with a 4-0 win over Notre Dame.

Picking up speed

Jackson coach Zack Walton could find fault only with about the Indians' first 10 minutes of the season.

"Once we got that first goal in that Poplar Bluff game, then we came together as a team," Walton said. "To take only 10 minutes to come together as a team is nice and a good start to the season."

Although Jackson mustered just one goal against Perryville (3-1), it controlled much of the action and had the better scoring chances.

The Indians unloaded 20 shots to the Pirates' six but had problems getting the ball past Perryville goalie Kate Lowry.

Jackson's goal came five minutes into the second half when Hartmann, deep in Perryville territory, made a 5-yard pass to Courtney Urhahn to the right of Lowry. Instead of shooting, Urhahn returned the ball to Hartmann, who put a low shot past Lowry.

Years of Urhahn and Hartmann playing together helped in the nifty passing.

"We've played together since we were little," Hartmann said. "We work well together. We just put things together."

Walton said the extra pass was what the Indians needed against a Perryville team that was dropping back and playing defensively.

"They broke our defense down and did what they needed to do," Perryville coach Stacie Bauwens said.

It marked the third straight game in which Hartmann scored the game's first goal. She finished with four goals for the tournament, as did her freshman sister, Lucy.

Lucy Hartmann is helping alleviate one of the losses from last year's 15-2-1 team. Her sister, Erin, was an all-state sweeper now at Southeast Missouri State University.

Making the transition

Junior Ashley Bartles has moved into Erin Hartmann's old spot and displayed the speed, strength and decisiveness needed at the position.

"That was going to be a big shoe to fill, and Ashley Bartles has really stepped up and is doing that," Walton said. "She's just a great athlete."

"They really didn't get any good shots in any of the games. Defensively we did some pretty good things."

Perryville advanced with a 1-0 win over Central.

Notre Dame (3-1) defeated Central 1-0 in the third-place game. Allison Essner scored the lone goal in the first half. Katie Palmer recorded the shutout for the Bulldogs.

Behind two goals from Caitlin Hoeh, St. Vincent won the consolation final 2-1 over Poplar Bluff. St. Vincent had defeated Farmington 4-0 earlier in the day.

Marion topped Farmington in the seventh-place game.

jbreer@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 124

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