Tigers squeak past CG-B in sectional semis


OLIVIA STAUSS, Howards Grove goalie, snares the ball near the net as teammate Katelyn Bruckschen (2) and Cedar Grove’s Jessica Rose close in during Thursday’s sectional soccer match. – Photo by Terry Schaller OLIVIA STAUSS, Howards Grove goalie, snares the ball near the net as teammate Katelyn Bruckschen (2) and Cedar Grove’s Jessica Rose close in during Thursday’s sectional soccer match. – Photo by Terry Schaller HOWARDS GROVE – The Howards Grove Tigers edged Cedar Grove-Belgium, 3-2, in a hard-fought Division 4 girls sectional soccer semifinal battle here Thursday evening.

The No. 2-seeded Tigers, who have won four in a row, upped their record to 18-5-1. The No. 3-seeded Rockets, who were 0-1-1 versus HG during the Big East Conference season, finished 13-7-2.

Sophomore forward Kayla Bender’s goal with just over 20 minutes left gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Katie Guse centered the ball from the left wing and found Bender for a well-placed header for the goal, just out of reach by the Rocket goalie.

The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals by senior midfielder/defender Malayna Mc- Daniel in the first 10 minutes. Kaitlynn Near assisted on the first goal.

Near, a starting senior midfielder/forward, sustained an apparent Achilles tendon injury at about the 20-minute mark and was unable to return to the match.

The Rockets cut the deficit to 2-1 at halftime on a goal by Haven Lanser. Cedar Grove tied the game, 2-2, on Jessica Rose’s goal early in the second half.

“It was a good game between two evenly matched teams. I am pleased that we ended up on top,” said Tiger head coach David Kisiolek.

“Cedar Grove is a well coached and disciplined team. I am very pleased with the play of our defensive backfield in limiting their looks on goal.

“Championships are won with defense and I am confident in the ability of our defense to take us to the next level,” said Kisiolek.

“Brittany Schaller and Katie Guse continue to lead our team from their central midfield positions. If you appreciate good, technical soccer then you will enjoy watching both Schaller and Guse at play.”

The Tigers led 11-6 in shots on goal. HG goalie Olivia Stauss made five saves.

“Up front, McDaniel and Near continue to develop as a potent offensive threat. The loss of Near early in the game certainly affected our offensive strategy. It’s a team game and the ability of Kayla Bender and others to step up and provide the winning score speaks well of our team depth,” said the coach.


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