Perryville claims district championship with 1-0 win over Notre Dame

Friday, May 16, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ Perryville players celebrated Ashley Castleberry's goal late in the second half of the Class 1 District 1 championship against Notre Dame in Farmington. Perryville won 1-0.

FARMINGTON -- Perryville senior Ashley Castleberry chose a good time to attempt a shot Thursday in the Class 1 District 1 championship game against Notre Dame.

"She always never shoots and then today she shot it for some reason," Pirates teammate Kendra Schilli said. "And it went in."

Castleberry broke a scoreless tie late in the second half to help propel the No. 3 Pirates past top-seeded Notre Dame 1-0 at Farmington High School.

"This time I just decided to shoot," Castleberry said. "Like coach says, 'Shoot, shoot, shoot.'"

Perryville (15-6) advanced to play Festus St. Pius (10-7) next Tuesday in a sectional-round contest at Notre Dame Regional High School.

Perryville's win over the Bulldogs was not its lone upset victory of the district tournament. The Pirates also knocked off No. 2 St. Vincent on Tuesday.

"I am so excited," Castleberry said. "I'm just speechless. I don't know what to say."

KIT DOYLE ~ Perryville's Ashley Castleberry, left, and Notre Dame's Amanda Pleimann both connected with a header Thursday, May 15, 2008, in Farmington.

After starting at forward last year as a junior, Castleberry accepted a new role this year. She has been substituting in off the bench as both a forward and defender.

"It's been a hard year for her because she is used to being a forward all the time and this year I had to ask something different of her," Perryville coach Stacie Sargent said. "She'll tell me every day she hates defense, but she does a remarkable job back there, too. I think for her this is probably the reward for putting in the time and adjusting when it wasn't anything she liked."

Despite rotating in off the bench rather than starting, Castleberry plays 40 to 60 minutes per game.

"It was because of the changes we made and it wasn't anything that she didn't do," Sargent said. "This year we made some changes. ... The philosophy I had to get her to buy into was that she had to be my sixth man -- in a basketball world off the bench -- because I needed to know if I could use her up top or in the backfield as soon as I needed her."

KIT DOYLE ~ Perryville's Kendra Schilli centered the ball over herseld and Notre Dame defender Alex Fowler Thursday, May 16, 2008, during Perryville's 1-0 Class 1 Disrict 1 championship win in Farmington.

Castleberry spent half her time on defense and half at forward during Thursday's game.

She was at left forward with 6 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the contest when she kicked one through Bulldogs goalie Shelley Frank's legs.

"I saw the ball coming across the field and we usually cross pass, but I figured, 'Well, I'm going to shoot,'" Castleberry said. "It just so happened that it went in."

Schilli added of Castleberry: "She's been a well-rounded player for us. She's played awesome defense."

KIT DOYLE ~ Notre Dame defender Alex Fowler (7), left, stopped a ball from going into the net as Notre Dame keeper Shelley Frank, right, and Perryville's Alicia Kueker, center, watched helplessly Thursday, May 16, 2008, in the Class 1 District 1 championship game in Farmington.

Perryville freshman goalie Natalie Bauwens also had a strong game, recording the shutout by making six saves, including two keys saves in the first half to preserve the scoreless tie.

Bauwens took over in net about eight games into the season, replacing sophomore Emily Westmoreland, who tore her ACL.

"My defense was good," Bauwens said. "I couldn't have done it without them. And I just stayed focused. I just knew what I had to do. Being a freshman on varsity is fun."

Notre Dame (17-3), which won the district title last year, controlled play for much of the first half while playing with the wind. The Bulldogs had to contend with it in the second half as the Pirates gained the advantage.

"The wind was a huge factor today," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said. "Both teams were going to have an advantage when they had the wind at their back. We had some quality chances in the first, and I thought we had some very good chances especially early on in the second half, even against the wind. We just didn't quite get the hit that we wanted to. And we probably needed to take another touch or so. But as it went on and as they had the wind at their back, they were sending a lot of long balls and those kinds of things against us and putting a lot more stress on our players. And they were finally able to get one in."

Sargent added that getting past the first half going against the wind was difficult.

"I won't say we played our best game today, but what I will say is that after we survived 40 minutes against the wind, we knew we had a chance," Sargent said.

Castleberry added: "In the second half, we just did our short game instead of our kick and run, kick and chase."

Perryville generated more scoring chances in the second and had some strong opportunities with some corner kicks and directs before Castleberry finally scored.

"I really felt the last 10 minutes we controlled everything," Sargent said. "Maybe we fed off that. Maybe we didn't. You know what, it's a break we'll take."

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