GRANITE CITY — As a sophomore playing varsity soccer, Collinsville’s Courtney Marten certainly turned in a big performance in Thursday night’s Southwestern Conference contest against the Granite City Warriors at Granite City.
Marten scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 overtime win just one minute and 58 seconds into overtime play. The ball bounced off of the goal post and then off of Kahoks’ player Jalyn Richardson before Marten kicked it in. The win guaranteed Collinsville a piece of the 2016 Southwestern Conference crown.
“I just turned around, I was so excited,” Marten said. “Everyone gave me hugs. I couldn’t believe I scored that goal.”
Marten also gave credit to her teammates for their fine work rate. Collinsville coach Clay Smith spoke of the halftime talk he delivered to his team.
“We had a little talk at halftime,” Smith said. “Granite City did a great job of defending our key players which we knew they were going to do. I told them we need a hero to step up and win this game for us. Courtney got the nod off the bench late in the second half and we had to press numbers up with our speed and athleticism. We told her to keep attacking the ball and going toward the goal.”
Both teams’ offenses worked the ball up and down the field in the first half and also displayed a considerable amount of ball control. In addition, both team’s goalies proved their effectiveness, as Kahoks’(11-1-2, 5-0-2) goalkeeper Julie Scheiter bagged five saves and Warriors goalkeeper Neeley Wiehardt had seven. However, neither team managed to score.
“I thought the first half was better,” Granite City coach Kenny Prazma said. “They’re an athletic team and they’re quite a bit bigger than we are. They have a bit more speed and it’s a bit easier for them to take control of the ball. It’s hard to get ahold of it when they’re outmuscling our girls, but the defense played well. They’ve been scoring three, four and five goals a game and to take them into overtime, it’s a good game for us.”
Smith said his team had trouble in the first half in “getting into a rhythm and a flow.”
“It’s a credit to coach Prazma and his girls,” he said. “It’s always a good challenging game when we play here.”
The Warriors established a 1-0 lead behind a goal from junior midfielder Lexi Grote at the 45:39 mark in the second half. Grote took the shot just a few feet from the goal.
But the goal seemed to serve as wake up call for Collinsville. The Kahoks put three shots on goal in the next 17 minutes while the Warriors had two. Junior forward Tayler Devine netted a goal at the 63:57 mark. Andrea Frerker put the ball in play on a corner kick and Devine, just in front of the goal, kicked the ball in.
Approximately 15 seconds after Devine’s goal the contest went on a weather delay due to lightning spotted in the area. The contest resumed an hour later and the Kahoks took control of the game and put three more shots on goal in the remainder of regulation time, two belonged to Devine, while Granite City had one.
Both coaches talked about the quality goaltending in the game. Scheiter finished with eight saves while Wiehardt finished with 14.
“Neeley played extremely well in goal for us, to make as many saves as she did,” Prazma said. “They’re a great offensive team and they’re going to keep coming at you, they play three up top. It’s hard for the defense to hold that off and get an offense going when it’s coming down your throat the whole time.”
Smith said Scheiter “made some good key saves.”
Granite City falls to 4-4-3 overall and 1-2-1 in the SWC with the loss. The Warriors will return to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with an away SWC contest against Edwardsville.