EDWARDSVILLE — Timing is everything. Take it from Edwardsville soccer player Ashlin West.
She was in the right place at the right time Monday.
The junior punched home a goal in the 77th minute to give the host Tigers a 1-0 win over Triad in nonconference play. Edwardsville, which improved to 9-2-1 and won its sixth in succession, avenged a 2-1 loss to Triad last month in the Metro Cup. The Knights fell to 7-2-2. They had gone seven matches with a defeat.
“I would say it’s the biggest goal I’ve scored this season,” said West, recording her fifth goal in a dozen matches. “I’ve never had a game where I scored the winning goal.”
Now she does, thanks in part to teammate Abby Crabtree, whose sharp pass put West in position to score the game-winner.
West added, “Abby is extremely fast and when she had the ball coming down the left side, I knew I had to get to the middle of the field. She is so fast. But I could see the play developing.”
Her shot zipped past Triad goalie Gabby Kayser and the Tigers closed out their win. They outshot the Knights 13-2 and owned a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks.
“Ashlin had been struggling a little bit for goals, so it was a big thing for her to move past her slump,” Edwardsville coach Abby Comerford said. “And Abby has a lot of speed and set her up nicely on that goal. It was a good transition effort and we have really had some good transition plays this season.”
Triad didn’t muster much offense, yet the Knights threatened to puncture the scoreless tie with four minutes remaining.
Meaghan Smith put a wicked shot on goal that Edwardsville keeper Regan Windau deftly deflected. The Knights had corner kicks before and after that shot.
However, the Tigers immediately turned the momentum their way following Triad’s second corner kick.
Crabtree gained ball possession, controlled it through the Triad defense and got in position to find West, who finished it with a goal. Crabtree registered her third assist of the season. She sports a team-best eight goals and 19 points.
“They (Tigers) had a quick transition,” Knights’ coach Matt Bettlach said. “Crabtreee has speed and skill and we didn’t stay with her.”
He noted, “We got a couple of good looks at the goal and then — boom — it turned on us for that brief moment.”
That one moment determined the outcome, thanks to Crabtree and West.
“Abby gave up her shot to get it to me, I shot it and it went into the net,” West said. “It was great to win, especially against Triad since we lost to them the first time. They have a great team, no doubt about it.”
Bettlach pointed out, “Edwardsville had more of the play and we didn’t capitalize on things when we had the opportunity. We knew it was going to be a battle and we battled hard for every ball the whole way. There was no letup.”
Comerford also complimented the Tigers for the way they played and was glad to see them score in the closing minutes.
“Our defense has been great the entire season,” she said, “The story of our season on offense is that we have had shot after shot on goal, but haven’t capitalized on them.”
This time, one goal was enough, just as it was Saturday in a 1-0 win over Normal. During their six-game winning streak, the Tigers have outscored their foes 16-1.
“Our defense is playing well,” West said. “Regan is doing a great job and is becoming a good leader even though she’s only a freshman.”
The Tigers are scheduled to welcome Belleville Althoff on Tuesday in another nonconference contest. Triad resumes Mississippi Valley Conference action at Jersey High. The Knights are cast in Class 2A for postseason purposes, while the Tigers will play in Class 3A competition.
EDWARDSVILLE 1, TRIAD 0
Triad 0 0 — 0
Edwardsville 0 1 — 1
E- Ashlin West (Abby Crabtree), 77th minute
Shots: Edwardsville 13, Triad 2
Corner kicks: Edwardsville 9, Triad 4
Saves: Reagan Windau (Edwardsville) 2, Skye Clark (Triad) 3, Gabby Kayser (Triad) 1