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Perryville girls reach Class 1 quarterfinals
The Perryville girls soccer team earned the trip the players have yearned to make since they started playing soccer.
The Pirates are headed to the Class 1 state quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
Perryville scored three goals within an 18-minute stretch to down St. Pius of Festus 3-1 in their sectional game Tuesday at Notre Dame Regional High School.
"We had three goals at the beginning of the year — to win our conference, which we didn't do, to win our district and then to get to the state finals," Perryville senior Alyssa Bauwens said. "So far we've made one of our goals come true and we're trying as hard as we can to get to that final one."
The Pirates (16-6) advanced to face Notre Dame of St. Louis (16-9-1) on Saturday at 5 p.m. on field 5 at the Anheuser-Busch Center in Fenton.
The trip to the A-B Center stood in question when St. Pius scored 18 minutes into the game. After Perryville dominated play from the start, St. Pius junior Carrie Stone juked a pair of Pirates defenders and buried a low shot to give the Lancers a 1-0 lead.
It was a scary reminder of two past games for the Pirates. First, it stirred memories of the 2006 Class 1 sectional, when St. Pius shut out the Pirates in Perryville's first trip to the sectional round. It also brought back memories of the game earlier this season, when St. Pius jumped out to an early lead against the Pirates.
Bauwens quickly wiped away chatter about the past.
Perryville immediately worked the ball down the field and Bauwens lobbed a high, arching shot over St. Pius' goalie to even the score.
"I just saw the open shot and I knew I had to take it," Bauwens said. "I figured if it wouldn't have gone in for me, I knew one of my teammates would have been there. We knew what we had to do and we got it done."
The Lancers' lead lasted 19 seconds.
"You could see our defense's head go down right away," Bauwens said of the Pirates' attitude after Stone's goal. "That's what usually happens in an important game like this. The first thing that happens is your heads go down. We've got to realize that what we have to do is get our heads back up and get our control and take advantage of our options. We did that very well."
Perryville coach Stacie Sargent said Bauwens' goal was the key to the game and exactly what her team needed.
"It was a chip shot that no one was going to touch," Sargent said. "That was so key, and the girls knew it. The second and third goals we got were beautiful."
When the Lancers and Pirates met earlier this season, Perryville emerged with the 4-1 win after falling behind early. The Pirates knew what to expect from the Lancers, but Perryville senior Kendra Schilli said that was to her team's detriment.
"It was probably the worst thing ever," Schilli said. "We came in pretty overconfident. The first half was not one of our best halves. I don't think we really played today, but we got off with a win, I guess.
"When you come against a team you beat 4-1, you get your rear bit. ... You come in cocky, thinking that you're going to stomp over this team and it didn't happen."
Sargent said she didn't allow her team to rest on its laurels because of what happened in 2006. She didn't want a repeat.
"We did not want to be overconfident," Sargent said. "We had beaten them 4-1 about three weeks ago. That's all we talked about was it doesn't matter. Everyone's 0-0 coming in."
Schilli ended the worries about previous games when she gave the Pirates the lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. She raced in and unleashed a strong, low shot that found the back of the net.
Rebecca Hanquist added an insurance goal less than six minutes later when Bauwens sent a corner kick into the box. After a scrum, Hanquist found the ball and buried it for the 3-1 lead.
The Pirates now turn their attention to Notre Dame of St. Louis. Sargent said she planned to have the team watch film today then practice Thursday and Friday in preparation for Saturday's game. Schilli said the Pirates must take care of the ball to extend their season.
"We need to pass the ball around," she said. "We were playing the boot game, boot and run. We've got to get away from that. When we got away from it, we ended up scoring."