WOOD RIVER — With a 6-1-1 record, the Roxana Shells are setting their sights on finishing with their fourth straight winning season.
And they’re also looking to turn in a successful postseason.
After beating the Father McGivney Griffins 3-0 on Tuesday at Wood River Soccer Park, Roxana improved to 3-0 against its Class 1A Althoff Sectional opponents. The Shells also beat Metro-East Lutheran and East Alton-Wood River earlier in the season.
Roxana will be playing another sectional opponent — Marquette Catholic — on Thursday on the road. A win over the Explorers could boost the Shells’ chances for a top seed in regionals.
“Marquette is going to be in our regional and they’re always a top seed,” Roxana coach Lori Yates said. “So, we can get the second seed. Marquette is hard to beat every year. It’s just one of those things. They’re always a tough team.”
Roxana is part of the nine-team sub-sectional field that also includes Mater Dei, Breese Central, Richland County and Salem. The Shells will play Breese Central on April 21, the same day the seeds will be announced. Roxana doesn’t have Mater Dei, Richland County or Salem on its schedule.
Last year, the Shells lost to Civic Memorial 5-0 in the Class 1A Civic Memorial Regional semifinals. Roxana senior midfielder Kara Meyer said she hopes her team can clear the regional hurdle this season.
“I think we need to continue playing hard and working together as a team and I think we’ll go far this season,” she said.
Roxana extended its winning streak to five games with Tuesday’s win over Father McGivney. The Shells, who were coming off their second straight East Alton-Wood River Tournament championship last week, scored all of their goals in the second half.
“Our season has gone really good so far,” Meyer said. “We’re going to have a couple of hard games coming up, but we’re ready for it. I think this year, all of us are stepping up and we’re all doing our part. Last year, we had a few players who usually would take over. So I think everyone has to step up this year and I think that’s really been a team bonding over there. We have to work together and that’s been working out for us.”
The Griffins, who are playing in their first varsity season this spring, dropped to 1-6. All of their losses have been via shutouts.
“It’s been tough,” Father McGivney coach Tim Vance said. “The biggest thing for us was we had quite a few injuries, so we started off with about 18 girls. Today, we had no subs, so we only had 11. We had a couple of girls go out with appendicitis and ankle injuries, so it’s been tough.”
Sophomore Emma Lucas scored a pair of goals to lead the Shells, giving her eight for the season. She scored on a penalty kick with 19 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the second half to give Roxana a 1-0 lead.
Father McGivney committed a foul in the scorer’s box after a corner kick from Roxana, setting up a penalty kick for Lucas.
“When the corner kick came and when Emma tried to kick it in the first time, the (Father McGivney) girl put her hand on it to touch it and grab it on the line, which gave us a PK,” Yates said.
Sophomore Brittany Alexander scored her third goal of the season with 17:05 left in the contest to extend the Shells’ lead to 2-0. Three minutes later, Lucas scored her second goal of the match to give Roxana a 3-0 lead.
Senior goalkeeper Nina Rodriguez turned in a strong effort in the losing cause for the Griffins, making 15 saves. Just seven minutes into the second half, she blocked a shot from Meyer.
“She’s a senior and she’s been there for three years, so she has done an excellent job for us,” Vance said.
Yates said she was impressed with the Griffins’ effort.
“We had to work at it tonight,” the Roxana coach said. “They played very good defensively. They’re very good about double teaming us. At halftime, I told the girls to settle down and pass the ball a little more, don’t keep it so much and don’t dribble it so much. Once we got started with a goal, it started the momentum.”
Father McGivney will play its next match on Thursday at Springfield Southeast.
“We’ll just keep trying to get better day by day, forget about this game and move on to the next one,” Vance said.