Jackson's season ends with 2-1 loss to Pattonville

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Pattonville's Casey Vitale and Jackson's Kaitlyn Crites go after the ball during the first half of the Class 3 Sectional at the Anheuser-Busch Center in Fenton, Mo., on Tuesday, May 25, 2010. Jackson lost 2-1. (KRISTIN EBERTS)

FENTON, Mo. -- Jackson soccer player Kelsey Bierman has a lifetime of memories during her four-year varsity career with the Indians.

But she certainly will never forget Tuesday's final few seconds.

With Jackson trailing Pattonville 2-1 in a Class 3 sectional game at the Anheuser-Busch Center, Indians freshman Alex Sotak took a corner kick. Bierman got her head on the ball and directed it toward the goal, but Pirates goalie Chelsea Hawkins made the stop at almost the same moment the buzzer went off to end Jackson's season.

"It was a perfect corner right to my head," Bierman said. "I knew the time was running low and I went up and tried my best to score. The goalie moved right there, though."

The final seconds were symbolic of the sectional frustrations for the Indians, who finished 17-5. Jackson won its ninth straight district title but fell short in the sectional round as it has every year since 2003.

The Indians were competitive from start to finish.

"These girls really battled and left it all on the field," Jackson coach Justin McMullen said. "They played as hard as they could. We played a very good team tonight, and I think we showed that we can play some soccer in Southeast Missouri."

Pattonville had allowed just four goals in its previous 11 games, and the Pirates defense was stingy in the first half as Jackson had few scoring chances.

Jackson had one of its best scoring chances with about 24 minutes to play when Hannah Roach was stopped by Hawkins, and Roach then kicked the rebound over the crossbar.

Less than a minute later, Pattonville scored the game's first goal. Kailey Utley centered the ball to Casey Vitale, who tipped the ball between two defenders and the post.

The goal held up until Sotak scored with 12 minutes left in the game. It came on a free kick from about 35 yards out as Sotak beat Hawkins to the right side of the net.

"She hit one in the district championship game [a 2-1 win over Poplar Bluff] with about 30 seconds left, but it wasn't as far as this one," McMullen said. "You could tell by the spin of the ball that she hit that one perfectly."

It certainly impressed Pattonville coach Tom Iffrig.

"That was an absolute bomb," Iffrig said. "[USA national team goalkeeper] Hope Solo would not have stopped that one."

The goal seemed to awake the Pirates, who put intense pressure on the Indians' defense. Pattonville finally broke through with 3:21 to play on the same combination as the first goal, as Utley centered a pass to Vitale, who sent it into the net.

The Indians made things interesting in the final moments but came up just short of tying the score.

"We showed up tonight," Bierman said. "We did not quit when they took the lead the first time or the second time. I thought we played hard the entire game."

Pattonville (19-6) advanced to Saturday's Class 3 quarterfinal round.

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