WOOD RIVER — The Roxana Shells are inching closer to another East Alton-Wood River Tournament championship.
The Shells improved to 2-0 in the four-team, round-robin tournament by knocking off the East Alton-Wood River Oilers 3-0 on Tuesday at the Wood River Soccer Park. Roxana can wrap up its second straight tournament championship with a win over Mascoutah on Thursday.
“I’m proud of the way my girls played,” Roxana senior Katie Herndon said. “I’m hoping that we can finish it and win the tournament again on Thursday.”
The Shells improve to 4-1-1 with the win over the Oilers. They also own wins over Metro-East Lutheran, Greenville and Jersey. Roxana started EA-WR tournament play on Monday with a 4-1 win over Jersey.
“I want us to stay consistent like we are now,” Roxana coach Lori Yates said. “I want us to play good soccer and keep talking and keep building from game to game. Right now, we’re improving little by little and I’m pleased with it.”
Roxana also recorded its second shutout of the season. The Shells began their season on March 14 with a 5-0 win over Metro-East Lutheran.
“It’s always good to beat Wood River, being our rivals,” said Yates, who is in her 11th season as Roxana coach. “I’m happy. The girls played well. We dominated and controlled most of the game, so I’m happy with it.”
The Shells got goals from sophomores Brynn Huddelston, Brittany Alexander and Emma Lucas. Huddleston and Alexander scored their goals in the first half and Lucas scored hers in the second. Sophomore Braeden Lackey recorded the shutout for the Shells, allowing just one shot on goal.
“I’m pretty excited about our victory,” Roxana senior Hannah Mormino said. “We won our tournament last year and I think we can do it again this year.”
With 3 minutes, 6 seconds left in the half, Huddleston received a pass from sophomore Alyssa Autery and scored to give the Shells a 1-0 lead.
“That was Brynn’s first goal of the season, so she was excited about getting it,” Yates said. “She played a different position for us tonight. Instead of stopper, she played midfield for us. That was good. It took us a while to get on the board, but once we did, that started our momentum to keep going.”
A minute later, Alexander scored her second goal of the season to increase Roxana’s lead to 2-0.
Lucas’ goal with 3:32 left in the match gave the Shells a 3-0 lead. The goal tied freshman Abby Kurth for the team lead with five goals.
Senior goalkeeper Becca Richards turned in a strong effort in the losing cause for the Oilers, who dropped to 0-5. Richards finished with 11 saves.
“She did a phenomenal job,” EA-WR coach Matt Herndon said. “She kept us in the game and she made some great saves and smart plays.”
EA-WR has been outscored 22-1 in its five matches. The Oilers scored their only goal against Wesclin on March 22.
“We’re getting there slowly,” Herndon said. “We played some good teams to start the season. Not to take anything away from our kids, but our kids have played hard and they played hard for 80 minutes every game. They are seeing their improvement. If they remain patient, it will come. They’ll get that win. We just have to keep getting after it. It’s going to happen.”
The Oilers play Jersey at 4 p.m. Thursday. Both teams are 0-2 in the tournament.Later that evening, Roxana will play a Mascoutah team that is also 2-0 in the tournament and has outscored its opponents 15-2.
Last year, the Shells went 3-0 in the EA-WR Tournament, outscoring their opponents 19-1. Roxana went on to finish 12-7, its third straight winning season.
The Shells will play the Oilers again on April 26 at Wood River Soccer Park.