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Holt golfer Kurt Matheney [Andrew Delahunty photo]

Holt golfer Matheney’s clutch putting clinches Bulldog Battle championship

Kurt Matheney’s putter may well become his good-luck charm on the golf course before the season ends.

Matheney, a Holt senior golfer, dropped in a 30-foot putt on his final hole for a score of 74 to force a sudden death playoff, then sank a 25-foot putt on his first playoff hole to win the individual championship of the 2017 Bulldog Battle Tournament at Winghaven Country Club in O’Fallon on April 9.

“My putting has always been one of the strong points of my game but at the Bulldog Battle, it was very good,” Matheney said.

Matheney, who is a member at Winghaven, expects to get a definite bounce to carry him into the late season from the Bulldog Battle win.

“That was a really big win for the season,” Matheney said. “It’s obviously one of the bigger, more competitive tournaments of the season and I think there were like 19 teams there and some very good schools there as well.”

“Now that I’m shooting back in the low 70s, it’s definitely going to help me with conference and districts when they come back up in three weeks.”

Holt coach Ryan Schallom said that Matheney is a strong, smart golfer.

“He’s really good at putting and he’s really good off the tee as well,” Schallom said. “His game doesn’t have too many flaws.”

The playoff was a new experience for Matheney but he felt little pressure and savored the moment.

“Definitely, when I saw the putt drop, it was a very good feeling, obviously knowing that I won the tournament as an individual,” Matheney said.

“Also, there were quite a few people that stepped down and watched, so in front of all those people it was a pretty cool experience.”

Matheney beat out Vianney’s Alex Heib, who also shot a 74 for the title. Chaminade golfer Drew Walsh shot a 74 for a three-way tie at the end of 18 holes but Walsh declined to play in the playoff and ended up third place.

Fort Zumwalt West senior midfielder Jenna Westcott works around a Troy defender during an April 4 game at home. [Carla Cox photo]

Fort Zumwalt West, Howell Central, Howell North girls soccer thriving through first half of season

Three St. Charles area teams have started off the 2017 girls soccer season in impressive fashion with six wins or more. Francis Howell Central, Fort Zumwalt West and Francis Howell North all are making noise in the Gateway Athletic Conference South division so far.

Francis Howell Central jumped out to a 7-4-1 start and the Spartans did it with defense and clutch scoring.

Since splitting two games in the St. Louis Soccer Showcase in early April, the Spartans have reeled off victories over Francis Howell North, Troy and Fort Zumwalt West.

Freshman midfielder Abby Nessl, senior midfielder Angel Ikeda and junior middie Bailey Beeler have led the Spartans offense, respectively.

Senior goalie Emily Ziegler has been a rock in goal, giving up just 1.07 goals per game.

Fort Zumwalt West is out to a solid 9-4 start heading into the end of April. The Jaguars ripped off five wins in six games just before mid-season in April, knocking off Lafayette, Francis Howell and Holt.

“We knew going into the season we had the ability to do it [start strong] but we have a tough conference with a lot of good teams,” Zumwalt West coach Sean Baldwin said. “I think they have always made sure they are prepared each game and not too much fazes them.”

Senior forward Lauren Crane and senior forward Natalie Rushing have been the offensive catalysts as the Jaguars top two scorers.

Junior forward Ella Kiely, freshman forward Ashlyne Hunt and senior midfielder Jenna Westcott help create scoring chances as the Jaguars have made scoring a team effort.

“I think scoring has been a team thing where we have a lot of people around Lauren and Natalie that can help do that,” Baldwin said.

Francis Howell Central junior midfielder Bailey Beeler tries cut off Francis Howell senior midfielder Kendall Kellerman to get to a free ball during an early season game (March 30) at Francis Howell. [Emily Hall photo]

Senior Kelsey Klingensmith and freshman Camielle Day have been steady between the pipes. Klingensmith is giving up just under a goal a game.

The Jaguars have a tough district playoff ahead of them as the postseason begins this week but Baldwin believes his club will be ready due in large part to the tough GAC South schedule they have played.
“I think we could make a strong [playoff] run but sometimes you have to get lucky, too,” Baldwin said. “I think we have all the ability in the world to make a run but our district is going to be tough this year.”

Francis Howell North headed into late April with a 7-5 mark. Bria Hamilton, Samantha Cary and Abbie Miller have paced the Knights’ offense. Danielle Davis has been the primary keeper for the Knights and she has been dependable with a 1.42 goals against average.

Zumwalt West boys lacrosse rolling toward postseason

Facing Fort Zumwalt West has been a nightmare for boys lacrosse teams in the Bi-State area in recent weeks.

The Jaguars, who reached the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association Division II semifinals last year are harassing teams all over the field with timely scoring and physical play.

Fort Zumwalt West headed into the final two weeks of the regular season with a blazing 6-1 mark thanks to victories over the likes of Clayton, Columbia Hickman, Rock Bridge and Holt.

“It’s kind of surprising, considering we haven’t had our starting unit yet this year, so it’s kind of nice to see we’ve got such great balance that we can play without a lot of our starters,” Jaguars coach Allen Pettis said. “We started the first five games without our five starters and just got them back the last two
games.”

Another big plus for Zumwalt West has been its ability to score in bunches. JT Huez, Austen King, Carson Morrissey and Zachary Hoffman have all scored 11 or more goals as the regular season draws to a close.
Huez and King are the Jaguars’ top two scorers while King and Morrisey control the playmaking. King and Morrissey lead the club in assists.

“They just know where to go with the ball and they have good movement off the ball, Pettis said. “We have got tremendous balance on our team where if you take one player off, we can put another one in and not miss a heartbeat, so that’s a luxury to have.”

That depth and balance have paid off in goal as well. The Jaguars have had alternates in goal between Leo Arnold and Mason Whitlock.

Senior goalie Brett Breakstone has been limited due to a knee injury suffered during his winter season. The Jaguars hope to have him fully ready for the playoffs starting next week.

This spring, the playoffs road will be tougher for the Jaguars as teams will be divided into two brackets, State Championship and Gateway Cup, a format similar to Mid-States Hockey.

“That will be disadvantage to teams like us in the public schools,” Pettis said. “But we’re not going to complain; it is what it is and we’ll play the games.”

Francis Howell Summer Sports Camp dates available

Dates for summer sports camps are now available at Francis Howell High School. Summer camps are being offered in boys and girls basketball, cross country, boys and girls golf, boys and girls soccer, softball, strength and conditioning, tennis, boys and girls volleyball and wrestling. For details or to register online, go to www.fhvikingscamps.com.

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