GRANITE CITY — The Granite City Warriors fought the Alton Redbirds to a 0-0 tie in Thursday night’s Southwestern Conference contest at Granite City.
“It was a battle, I thought both teams played great,” Alton coach Jeff Hayes said. “The girls went out there and played hard.”
After regulation time expired, both teams continued to battle each other in two 10 minute overtimes. Both coaches agreed that their teams' physical stamina was tested.
“The girls are out there giving it there all,” Hayes said. “You try to keep them fresh, but you get caught up in the intensity of the game and you don’t always pull them off the field when you’d like to, but they battled through it.”
Warriors' coach Ken Prazma said he thought his team was a little tired at the end of regulation, but then caught a second wind in overtime.
“We came out in the overtime and the girls played well,” Prazma said. “They started finding their feet and started chasing a little. We had a little more advantage in the overtime, we had some nice chances. We couldn’t put one in the back of the net.”
Like most scoreless soccer games, both teams had chances to score and both teams benefitted from solid goalkeeping. Alton’s Julia May-Campbell recorded her fourth shutout of the season. May-Campbell was in the hot seat from the beginning, as Granite City challenged the Redbirds early, putting two shots on goal in the first four minutes. The Warriors put six shots on goal in the final six minutes of the first half. The AHS junior goalie finished the game with 14 saves.
“I’m really happy for her, she deserved a game like this,” Hayes said. “We have two keepers we’ve been rotating through. This was a good shutout for her. She was playing aggressive. She didn’t give them many second opportunities. Everything that came her way, she saved the first time.”
May-Campbell spoke of her team and the mental fitness required of a goalkeeper.
“I just make sure I keep my head in the game,” she said. “I also rely on my team to help out.”
For Granite City, Haley Davis, the starting goalkeeper, and Neeley Wiehardt shared time in the shutout. Wiedhardt came into the game with nine minutes to play in the second half. Both Davis and Wiedhardt have recorded three shutouts this season. The Redbirds put nine shots on goal. Prazma said his team takes pride in quality goalkeeping.
“They do a great job of talking and running the field,” he said. “And helping people see the things they can’t see.”
Davis said she wanted to play the best she could because the game fell on senior night.
“I was lucky on some of the saves,” she said. “They had some pretty good shots.”
Wiehardt called the contest “nerve racking.”
She added, “It’s stressful, thinking one little shot could go in. You have to stay calm and tell yourself you’re stopping every goal that comes your way.”
Brianna Hatfield, Alton’s top scorer with 12 goals, placed four shots on goal in the second half. Lexi Grote, one of Granite City’s top scorer with eight goals, placed four shots on goal in the first half alone and placed another one on goal in the second half.
The Warriors drop to 7-5-4 overall and 1-2-2 in the SWC with the tie. The Redbirds drop to 10-4-3 overall and 0-3-2 in the SWC with the tie. The Warriors will return to action at 6:30 p.m. Monday with an away contest against Edwardsville. The Redbirds will play at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at home against Highland in a non-conference affair.