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EA-WR junior goalie Nick Barrett leaps in the air to block a shot at the Carlinville Kick-off Tournament.
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Roxana captain Jon Durloo takes a shot on a free kick which bounced off the cross-bar in the battle for fifth place against Hillsboro in the Carlinville Kick-off Tournament.
CARLINVILLE — East Alton-Wood River and Jersey advanced to the finals of the Carlinville Kick-off Tournament on Thursday at Loveless Park, neither having a loss in the field. Unfortunately, Jersey took the win over the Oilers with a final score of 1-0 to win the championship.
Jersey (5-0) knew their standings since Tuesday, having played before a powerful storm surged through the area, whereas last year's winner, Springfield Lutheran (5-1) was in mid-game with EA-WR (4-1) when the game was called due to tremendous lightning.
With a scoreless affair, EA-WR and Lutheran had to return early Thursday to Loveless Park to finish the last 20:30 of the game to determine who would make the finals. The Oilers came away with a 2-0 victory after scoring two goals against Lutheran in the final three minutes of regulation play.
Oiler sophomore Luke Simms was credited with the first score after taking a shot that bounced off a Lutheran player and found the back of the net. Senior Devon Gilreath earned the assist.
EA-WR's other score came from junior David Barrett, scoring his third goal of the season, assisted by sophomore Jordan Schmidgall. It came with just seconds on the clock to secure the spot in the championship game for EA-WR.
Nick Barrett was awarded the shutout in goal with five saves.
"We were in control those first 18 minutes of the game," said Lutheran head coach David Isham. "We allowed them (Oilers) opportunities late and they were able to capitalize on them...we couldn't counter so late in the game."
Lutheran played Springfield Southeast for third immediately following the semifinal game vs. the Oilers. Lutheran won 2-1 over Southeast to secure third place.
The championship game between Class 2A Jersey and the Class 1A Oilers got quite chippy, with several penalties and yellow cards handed out during the match.
The Panthers took the lead with a score by Jacob Witt on EA-WR goal keeper Nick Barrett off of a free kick in the first half and it proved to be all they would need.
Second place in the tournament is a new benchmark for the Oilers, who finished third last season for their highest spot in the tourney to that point.
"We went out there and worked hard for 80 minutes and came home with the loss, but we're happy with the result of second place and I'm very proud of our effort," EA-WR head coach Mike Lawson said. "I think any time you go up against a 2A school that is playing in a 1A tournament and it's just a 1-0 decision and the game could have gone the other way, that shows the progress of the 1A school, or perhaps maybe the lessening of the 2A school.
“(The Panthers) are a larger school who has consistently made it well into the playoffs the last few years and has ran out some good teams."
Nick Barrett continued good play in the net even in the loss. He has only given up two goals in five games on the young season.
Jersey head coach Scott Burney credits pre-season conditioning for his team's success early in the season.
"We spent a lot of time in the weight room and are focusing on proper nutrition, being fit and mentally ready to go," Burney said. "We had a little bit of the advantage with two and a half to three days to focus and the Oilers didn't know they'd be playing in this game until two hours before. We play them (Oilers) in a few more weeks and we're looking forward to having them at home at our place, it'll be a tough battle."
Prior to the championship game the Roxana Shells battled in the fifth-place match. Unfortunately, the Shells lost a grueling match to Hillsboro 1-0 in overtime on penalty kicks. Hillsboro junior Jared Smith netted the winning goal for the Hiltoppers.
The Shells in a rebuilding year after graduating 10 seniors in 2014, are finding their feet with a team mostly comprised of sophomores and freshmen and no seniors to take the helm.
"We are an extremely young team with some kids who have never played soccer before," Roxana head coach Steven Dohnal said. "We had some kids come over from football and we do have some decent size and speed, but we have some growing to do."
Twelve teams competed in the Carlinville Tourney. Teams that participated in the tournament were: Jersey, Hillsboro, Gillespie, Springfield Lutheran, Carlinville, Roxana, Litchfield, EA-WR, Athens, Springfield Southeast, Staunton and Raymond Lincolnwood.
Jersey took second place in the tournament in 2013 behind Springfield Lutheran.