COLUMBIA — The strong postseason run of the Marquette Catholic Explorers came to a screeching halt on Friday.
The Explorers ran into the physical Waterloo Bulldogs in the Class 2A Columbia Sectional finals, suffering a rough 7-0 defeat. With the loss, Marquette closed the season at 14-7-3. Waterloo improved to 22-3-1 and advanced to the Jacksonville Super-Sectional at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Bulldogs await the winner of Springfield and Rochester, which meet at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Urbana Sectional title tilt.
Friday was tough for the Explorers, which trailed 1-0 just three minutes into the game and 2-0 at the break. A third goal three minutes into the second half was the backbreaker, as it ballooned from there.
Two penalty kicks off the foot of Waterloo's Kane Osterhage were key. The senior midfielder for the Bulldogs finished the game with three goals overall, giving him 29 on the season.
Marquette coach Jeremy Sanfilippo thought the first PK seemed to take the sails out of the Explorers going into the break.
“I think in the first half, that first PK they called, when I took them down in the corner (halftime) to talk to them, I could tell they were still thinking about that,” Sanfilippo said. “It's a game of inches, I thought I saw him offsides and I think that has a lot to do with the psyche of a soccer player, especially going from a 1-0 game to a 2-0 game.
“They're a fast team, a good team and if you give them a little extra it makes it harder.”
It was Osterhage that drew first blood for the Bulldogs in the third minute. Dawson Holden fed him as he went in on the right side and blistered a shot into the left corner of the net.
“His first goal was nice,” said Sanfilippo. “He split my defense and went right to the goalie. Brandon (Sanfilippo) has been solid for us all the way through and he beat him to the corner, which is a great shot from any player.”
Marquette took a chance in the 10th minute, when Jacob File put a free kick right on goal, but Waterloo goalie Trevor Coplin gobbled it up.
Chris Hartrich fired a shot on goal less than a minute later, but a Bulldog defender was able to deny they shot after it got behind Coplin.
The squads continued trading blows with Osterhage nailing a screamer that was saved by Sanfilippo in the 19th minute. Ben Huels followed the shot, but booted it wide.
Marquette's Zach Weinman had two chances in the 25th and 26th minutes. The junior leading scorer for the Explorers touched a shot that slowly rolled wide and then peppered a shot that Coplin dived and corralled.
It was the 35th minute when Osterhage charged in on Sanfilippo, who came out to meet him. The two collided and Sanfilippo was tagged with a yellow card, causing him to have to leave the game and issuing Osterhage a penalty shot. Freshman backup goalie Nick Hemann entered for the PK as Osterhage beat him with a goal into the left side of the net, raising the lead to 2-0 heading into the break.
“I thought I had them fired up a little bit when I talked to them at the half,” coach Sanfilippo said. “But then the third goal, that kind of brought them down again. I tried to get them back up, but I could just see it in their faces that they knew it was going to be a tough mountain to climb.”
Huels scored the goal in the 43rd minute to make it 3-0. Goals from Chase Rubemeyer in the 49th minute and Ethan Lewis in the 50th minute upped it to 5-0.
Then in the 58th minute Osterhage was awarded his second PK. Much like the first one, Sanfilippo came out to cut him off, the two banged bodies again and the Marquette senior goalie was issued his second yellow of the game, resulting in a red card and an ejection.
Hemann returned to the field to finish the game, but couldn't stop Osterhage on his second PK.
“I've never seen that happen before,” Waterloo head coach Chad Holden said of a player and goalie having two contact plays in the same game resulting in two PKs. “I've been here a long time, too.”
Holden added of Osterhage, “He's a complete player. He scores the goals, but he covers a lot of ground, too. He's not even a forward for us, he's a midfielder, so he covers a lot of ground and does some things with his passing. Other teams are marking him up, so that's giving us all the space on the outside now.”
Two more Waterloo scores made for a lopsided number on the scoreboard and a tough ending for some stellar careers for the Explorers. Marquette now says goodbye to eight talented seniors, including: Sanfilippo, File, Adam Johnes, Collin Dunn, Alex Davis, Tony Vitale and Tommy Morrissey.
“Our seniors have been leaders this year and our captains have been leaders,” coach Sanfilippo said.
After dramatic 1-0 wins over Jacksonville and Chatham Glenwood to earn a regional title and then a signature 2-1 upset of top-seeded Columbia on Tuesday, the score Friday didn't represent what Marquette accomplished in the postseason.
“I don't want to lose 7-0, but I don't think it was a true 7-0 game,” Sanfilippo said. “I think it was more of us being frustrated.”