ALTON – Sarah Fischer of the Alton High girls’ soccer team positioned herself in the right place at the right time Saturday.
The senior scored two goals as the Redbirds blanked Jacksonville, 2-0, in a nonconference match at Gordon Moore Park. Alton improved to 4-6, while Jacksonville dropped to 2-4.
“She has the ability to produce like that,” Redbirds’ coach Laura Ridolfi said of Fischer, known more for her midfield play and defensive work. “She can pop in goals when we need her to do that.”
Fischer added, “That’s the first time I’ve had a double-goal game. I’m normally more of a defensive player.”
She pounced on a corner kick off the foot of freshman Brianna Hatfield to give the Redbirds a lead in the 28th minute. Fischer scored amid a scramble in front of Jacksonville keeper Madi Allen.
It remained a one-goal game until Fischer fired a shot past Allen in the 70th minute. Senior Lexi Green assisted on Fischer’s second goal.
Alton then closed out the win by keeping the pressure on the Crimsons. The Redbirds outshot them 24-2 and had a 12-0 advantage in corner kicks. While Allen had eight stops, AHS keeper Brittany Storey didn’t need to make a save in recording a shutout. Fischer, heading to the University of Mississippi to study occupational therapy, took care of igniting the offense.
“It looks like we are starting to get the little things together,” Fischer said of the Redbirds’ solid outing. “We took advantage of our opportunities.”
Ridolfi has been preaching persistence in getting the Redbirds to make the most of their scoring chances. In their six losses, they have tallied only three times. Five of those defeats were by one goal.
“We had a lot of opportunities today and we did a pretty good job with them,” said Ridolfi, a 2006 Marquette Catholic High graduate. “If we can be patient, good things will happen for us.
“We need to build on this and keep working at it.”
The schedule gets a bit tougher for the Redbirds next week. They return to Southwestern Conference action, going to Belleville East on Tuesday and Collinsville on Thursday. They were supposed to play the Kahoks the past Thursday in Collinsville, but rainy weather postponed the match. Alton lost to O’Fallon, 2-1, in its lone conference encounter. It appears that Collinsville and O’Fallon are the teams to beat in the league.
Yet nobody is overlooking Alton.
“We’re always in it,” Ridolfi said of the Birds’ effort thus far. “And even some of the games that we’ve lost, we played well.”
ALTON 2, JACKSONVILLE 0
Jacksonville 0 0 – 0
Alton 1 1 – 2
A –Sarah Fischer (Brianna Hatfield), 28th minute
A – Fischer (Lexi Green), 70th minute
Shots: Alton 24, Jacksonville 2
Corner kicks: Alton 12, Jacksonville 0
Saves: Madi Allen (Jacksonville) 8, Brittany Storey (Alton) 0