St. Vincent soccer team avenges loss, wins district

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

St. Vincent won its third straight district title with a 1-0 victory against St. Pius

FESTUS, Mo. -- As Tuesday's Class 1 District 1 girls soccer championship game wore on, St. Vincent junior Abby Lappe tried to picture herself scoring a goal.

Teammate Storm French provided the opportunity with just more than 23 minutes left in the game, and Lappe turned the visions into reality.

"Right before that, there were a couple balls that crossed like that and I started envisioning it in my mind," Lappe said. "I've heard that's supposed to help. I kept envisioning it.

"It was going over their heads, and I was like, 'Oh, this is a perfect opportunity.' I wasn't even thinking. I just hit it. It came to me and it went in. I've never felt so much adrenaline in my entire life."

French sent a corner kick to the far side of the goal and Lappe was there to kick a low shot past St. Pius goalkeeper Holly Magre.

"This is so important to all of us because we knew this could have been our last game and we didn't want that," Lappe said.

The Indians' defense made the goal stand to capture their third consecutive district championship, this time a 1-0 victory over host St. Pius. St. Vincent has advanced to the final four the last two years, winning the state title in 2009 before taking third last year.

French, who handles the vast majority of corner kicks for St. Vincent, said she keeps her strategy simple on them.

"I just place the ball on some nice grass and kick," she said.

The Indians (19-4) also scored a goal off a corner kick in their semifinal win against Saxony Lutheran on Saturday.

"This year we've really neglected it," St. Vincent coach Dusty Wengert said about his team's work on corners. "We've really kind of gotten away from it, and [Monday] we took probably 20 minutes to work on them."

St. Pius tried pushing up after allowing the goal with 23 minutes, 4 seconds left in the second half, but the Indians' defense never allowed a golden opportunity.

"That's when it gets fun, I think," St. Vincent defender Mallory Tucker said about the final 20 minutes. "It gets a little physical. You get to talk a little bit. You see a different side of the game. I get to pull out my mean side, I guess."

It was a bit of revenge for the Indians, who lost to St. Pius 3-0 on April 8.

"It was all about revenge," Tucker said. "I hate to say that because it sounds like that's the only reason we wanted to win. But we had to deal with being beat by them."

The teams played an even first half with both squads creating some decent scoring chances. St. Pius controlled play for most of the first 10 minutes but play evened out as the half wore on.

The game's tempo changed after halftime. St. Vincent controlled play for most of the half and forced St. Pius to play in its half before Lappe gave her team a lead.

"I think it was just we knew how bad we wanted it," Tucker said about the turnaround in the second half. "It's not so much that we changed a lot, it's just the emotion of it. That's how we beat them, I think."

Wengert said a few of his players provided the needed advice to their teammates at the intermission.

"I think when we talk at halftime and I get done with my spiel and the girls chime in with what they're seeing, I think the other girls perk up and take notice," he said. "Today it was Abby, Emily Cissell and Kayla [Seabaugh] who stepped up and said look, this is open if we can do this, this and this. I think sometimes it means more to hear it from a teammate than my monotone voice all the time."

The Indians handed the Lancers just their second loss of the season, and it was the first game where St. Pius (24-2) did not score a goal. Part of the reason for the Indians' defensive success was their aggressiveness. They rarely allowed the St. Pius forwards to control the ball in open space.

"Coach told me a few days ago that I was going to have to come out in beast mode," Tucker said. "I was going to have to be tough. We all knew that if we didn't go after every ball on defense, they would beat us. We've seen it."

The Indians now turn their attention to Tuesday's sectional round. They will host St. Elizabeth (7-13).

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