Jackson has no reply to powerful Word

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nationally ranked Incarnate Word posted a 3-0 victory over the Indians.

FARMINGTON -- Moments after Jackson's loss in the Class 2 state sectional to Incarnate Word, Indians coach Zach Walton ticked off some of the honors for the IWA players.

All-Americans, national team members.

That's why the Red Knights (22-1-2) entered the game ranked No. 13 in the nation, according to the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas poll released this week.

The Indians stayed within one goal, as Walton hoped, until the final minutes, when Incarnate Word pulled away for a 3-0 victory.

"I was proud of our girls," Walton said. "We played with them that whole game. Our goal was to keep it close until the end of the game, and we did that. Then, we became more offensive-minded, and that's when they scored. In the regular season, we might have played it differently and kept it tight, but at this time of year, whether you lose 1-0 or 3-0, it makes no difference."

The Indians fell behind 1-0 on a goal 8 minutes into the game by sophomore Kristen Dailey with an assist by junior Allie Brazill.

The score remained that way for 67 minutes before Incarnate Word's closing flourish.

Jackson had its chances, mostly in the first half, missing on a shot at an open goal and a corner kick opportunity.

"Jackson is a very athletic team, and I don't know that we came out prepared enough," second-year IWA coach Kristy Bush said. "Jackson put a lot of pressure on us in the first half. We came out in the second half and played more relaxed."

The Red Knights put pressure on Jackson in the second half, but couldn't finish off the Indians until Jackson changed its approach. Lindsey Poole moved out from goal to the field and the Indians tried to open up some opportunities.

Blake Miller, a junior who two years ago won the Golden Boot as the top under-15 player in the nation, made some nifty moves in space in front of the goal and scored with 4 minutes to play.

Two minutes later, IWA scored again when defender Drea Barklage, an all-Metro selection last year as a sophomore, scored on a header off a corner kick by junior Sabrina Drennan.

"They have some talented players," Walton said. "They're well-coached, good players who are well-behaved on the field. They kept their composure and played smart. They were fun to watch play."

Although it wasn't fun for the Indians to have their season ended at 13-3-2.

In their string of six district titles, they are 1-5 in the sectional round, beating only another public school in 2003. Since, they have lost to three private schools -- Nerinx Hall in 2004, St. Joseph's last year and IWA this year. They lost to Francis Howell in 2005.

St. Joe's was No. 1 in the state last year when it beat Jackson but lost in the semis. IWA is No. 2 this year behind Nerinx.

"That's two big teams in a row," said Walton, who joked that the recent MSHSAA proposal for separate public/private tournaments had his vote. "That [proposal] was for all sports, and I think it's obvious you'd get a different outcome if you voted in a few sports.

"I'm not sure how they rotate the sectionals, but that's just the way it goes. You just go back and start again and try to win the district again before you look ahead to the sectional."

The Indians will lose to graduation sweeper Randi Kraust and Erin Curtis along with Alicia Howard, who "did a good job marking [Dailey]," Walton said.

"We don't have anything to hang our heads about," Walton said. "We kept it 1-0 until late and then we took our chances. It's better than losing 1-0 and wondering what if we got more offensive. Now, you know the answer."

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