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St. Vincent's soccer season ends with 2-0 loss to St. Pius
CRYSTAL CITY, Mo. -- The St. Vincent girls soccer team won't play in June for the first time in four years.
The top-ranked team in Class 1 lost to the state's No. 2 team in the latest Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association poll.
The Indians' 2-0 loss to St. Pius in the Class 1 District 1 championship game Tuesday marked the end of a stellar run by St. Vincent.
"Every year I get blessed with a team that's willing to listen to us, willing to work," St. Vincent senior Kayla Seabaugh said. "I'm definitely proud."
Missouri added a third class for soccer for the 2009 season, which is when St. Vincent's final four run began. Four of St. Vincent's seniors -- Seabaugh, Storm French, Courtney Heberlie and Abby Lappe -- played on that 2009 team, which won the state championship. Those four also helped lead the Indians to a third-place finish their sophomore year and earn runner-up medals as juniors last year.
"We broke a lot of records and did a lot of things that teams before us at our school haven't," French said.
Those four seniors posted an 85-18 record during their high school careers.
"It's a lot more tougher than these last three years especially," French said about her high school career ending. "It's a lot easier for me since I'm going on to play soccer next year, but for people like Abby and Mallory [Tucker], they don't have anything to look forward to after this."
Tuesday's outcome was a reversal of last season. St. Pius defeated St. Vincent during the regular season before falling to the Indians in the district title game last year. This year the Indians beat the Lancers during the regular season before falling in Tuesday's district championship.
"Some of the girls lost to them three years in a row because they've been to state," St. Pius sophomore Haylee Eastridge said. "It just meant everything to us. We were so excited to beat them."
Eastridge provided the only goal the Lancers needed. The Indians were whistled for a push to the right of the box late in the first half. Eastridge lined up the free kick and sent a blast toward the far upper corner. St. Vincent goalkeeper Katie Mattingly managed to get a piece of it, but it hit her in the back and deflected into the goal.
"She did everything right," St. Vincent coach Dusty Wengert said. "She even knocked the ball off the post, and on her way back down, the ball hits her in her back and goes in the goal. She did everything right, she just got an unlucky bounce. Haylee Eastridge from Pius placed it in the right spot and made Katie make a save."
The ball deflected into the goal with 45.3 seconds left before halftime.
"I wish it was a little more clean, but it went in," Eastridge said. "A goal's a goal."
Mattingly admitted she struggled to shake off the goal during halftime.
"Something like that, honestly going into half, you think, 'If I would have gotten that or if I don't get it, then we lost because of that goal,'" she said. "But you have to put it behind you. We didn't score, and you can't win a game without scoring goals."
The Lancers controlled the tempo for much of the first half and created the better chances. St. Vincent struggled to spark many offensive charges.
"I think they were connecting their passes really well," French said. "Our first touch would be 10 feet away from us. If we were passing, we weren't looking at connecting those passes."
The Indians played with a renewed energy in the second half. They started pushing the tempo and created quality chances.
"Everyone was just stepping up and hustling to the ball," Lappe said. "We just wanted it for a good 25 minutes there."
It looked like the Indians had tied the game when they beat St. Pius goalkeeper Holly Magre with 26:27 left.
"I was jumping up and down until I saw the flag up," Wengert said. "He said it was offsides. That's the one that punched us in the gut. Instead of being 1-1, it's still 1-0."
The shot came after a corner kick bounced around in the box, but the Lancers managed to pull up just enough to force the Indians offsides.
"It was definitely a buzz kill," Seabaugh said. "It hurt. As soon as I saw the referee, I just looked away."
St. Vincent continued to pressure the Lancers and managed a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced straight down and out with just less than 18 minutes left.
The Lancers finally put the game out of reach when Kirsten Nulsen rocketed a shot into the far upper corner from about 30 yards out for a 2-0 lead with 5:41 left. Her teammates mobbed her as she ran back toward the center of the field.
"Second half was we've got to change this up a little bit," St. Pius coach Dan Bokern said. "We can't just keep kicking it out and then coming back in. The second goal definitely helped a lot."