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Drama plays out for Howell Central, Zumwalt South girls soccer in postseason

Fort Zumwalt South’s girls after winning the Class 3, District 7 championship.

Fort Zumwalt South’s girls after winning the Class 3, District 7 championship.

Heading into the final week of May, there were still plenty of soccer games left to play for the Francis Howell Central girls soccer team.

The Spartans kept their super season going on May 26 with a 2-0 Class 4 sectional victory over Timberland at Howell Central. As a result, the Spartans advanced to the Class 5 quarterfinals for the first time in the program’s 19-year history.

“It’s pretty special to be in this position now and the girls have done a super job to get us to this point,” Howell Central coach Derek Phillips said. “We knew about the ninth game of the season when we were 9-0 that we could possibly do something special and the girls have worked hard and have worked together and really excelled.”

Beating Timberland was a physical grinding effort with the Spartans having to battle and win on many 50/50 balls. Emma Farley scored a goal 10 minutes into the first half; then Caitlyn Eddy found the back of the net with a goal in the final 30 seconds to provide the scoring.

“We didn’t have a lot of great shots off the 50/50 balls, but we were able to get a couple when they were there,” Phillips said.

Howell Central (21-2 at presstime) has leaned on the play of Eddy (16 goals), Farley (13 goals) and Morgan Cervera (12 goals) to carry the offense.

Sydney Chalcraft has been the anchor in goal with a gaudy .0915 save percentage and a 21-2 mark heading in to the May 30 (after presstime) quarterfinal game against Pattonville.

For the Fort Zumwalt South girls soccer team this year’s postseason has been the best and worst of times.

Zumwalt South beat St. Charles 1-0 in the Class 3, District 7 semifinals on May 19 and then knocked off Fort Zumwalt East 3-0 in the district championship May 21 at Zumwalt East to advance to a Class 3 sectional against perennial Class 3 power St. Dominic.

Allie Lacker, Rachel Rinkus, and Rehem Youseff scored goals for the Bulldogs as Zumwalt South captured its second district title in three seasons.

“I think we started slow in that game and then came on in the second half and our offense kind of figured it out and it worked out for us,” Zumwalt South coach Jim Layne said.

However, that approach did not work as well for the Bulldogs in the sectional on May 26 as they fell to an experienced and strong St. Dominic club 3-0.

“Our middies and our forward kind of did the same thing that they did in the Zumwalt East game in playing off of them and not attacking,” Layne said. “They started off like that and stayed like that and also our conditioning was not good. We didn’t have our legs so that hurt our chances to generate much offense.”

Lacker (5 goals), Stacie Muehling (4 goals), Madison Schmied (4 goals), and Youself (4 goals) gave the Bulldogs offensive punch.

Susana Caito was strong in goal with a 1.05 goals against average and an 11-7-2 record.

Although Zumwalt South did not get past the sectional round, there is a bright future ahead for the freshmen- and sophomore-ladened Bulldogs.

“We feel like we had a special season winning our second district title in school history and to do that in three seasons is pretty neat,” Layne said. “There are only five seniors leaving and we have a lot of sophomore and younger players coming back so now that these players have had a taste of postseason success and see what work goes into it I think the future is going to be really good for them.”

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