Lady Leaf soccer falls in sectional final

Amy Boldt
Allison?DeSmith passes the ball to an open teammate in Geneseo’s sectional final game in Peoria.

The Geneseo soccer team’s stellar season came to a close May 22 as the Lady Leafs were defeated at the hands of Peoria Notre Dame, 3-0 in the sectional final in Peoria. This playoff run marks the first time in school history the Lady Leafs have made a sectional final appearance.

After coming off a long and grueling sectional semifinal game with Morton two nights before on May 20, Geneseo just couldn’t muster up the offense it needed to get past Notre Dame.

“It was a tough game, but Notre Dame played very well and we just didn’t quite have our legs under us and it was tough to come back,” said head coach Clark Brookens. “Fatigue was definitely a factor after playing two hours two nights earlier.”

Notre Dame punched through two goals in the first half, followed by one in the second for the win.

Carey Dahlquist scored the first on the assist from Jenny Coughlin at the 13-minute mark. Coughlin followed the assist up with a goal of her own on the assist from Rachel Blakesley at 29:00.

In the second half, Dahlquist knocked through an unassisted goal at 65:00 to seal the victory and to advance to Super Sectional competition.

“Notre Dame played a great game of soccer and won their 12th sectional title,” said Brookens. “We went out and played hard, but some players were not able to go as hard as usual, but we played as hard as possible.”

Notre Dame finished the contest with 19 shots on goal, while Geneseo was held to zero. Lady Leaf goalie Danielle Springer made nine saves in net.

“We are obviously pleased to progress that far,” said Brookens. “We even had some Notre?Dame parents who have seen us play over the past few years and said they have seen our growth and strength. They were very complimentary to our program.

One of the things we are pleased with is our progress and our only losses came to top teams in the state. We just want to get better every year. Our goal is to play the best we can and try to get better.”

The Lady Leafs end the season with an overall record of 15-4 and a 5-0 record in the NCIC for the conference title.

“Both the seniors and the team have played together all season long and are a great group and very supportive,” said Brookens. “They worked hard every day and enjoyed being around each other. They are great people to be around. It is great to have a good win/loss record, but it is more important to be great people and teammates.”

Val Piekos chases down the Peoria Notre Dame player during the sectional final game May 22 in Peoria.