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updated: 5/7/2013 9:32 PM

St. Edward opens postseason on a mission

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By Steve Nichols

The St. Edward girls soccer team is well aware of what happened in last year's postseason.

After a 1-0 loss to Lisle in a Class 1A sectional final that prevented the Green Wave a state final appearance, they would like some redemption this spring.

But when the Green Wave broke out of coach Tim Brieger's huddle prior to the start of the Class 1A regional semifinal at Westminster Christian on Tuesday and formed another huddle of their own, you could tell they meant business after posing the notion of setting the tone early and getting a 7-goal win in the process.

Consider the tone set after the top-seeded Green Wave had 7 different goal scorers on 24 shots en route to an 8-0 win over No. 4 Elgin Academy in Elgin.

Led by Corey Lepoudre's 2 goals and Chelsea Gnan's goal and assist, St. Edward (13-6-2) moves on to the regional championship game on Saturday at 11 a.m., where the Wave will face today's winner of No. 2 Harvest Christian vs. No. 3 Westminster Christian that's slated for a 4 p.m. start.

"Losing in (the sectional final) last year, we kind of want our revenge and time to get it," said Gnan, who assisted on Allison Kruk's goal in the first half and scored early in the second half. "This is what we've been waiting for all season."

It took just 8 minutes for Meagan Kearney to find the back of the net. Allison Kruk followed 5 minutes later and Lepoudre followed with 2-straight goals in the 16th and 37th minute to take a 4-0 lead into the half.

"We haven't really been scoring early lately so we really tried to do that in this game," said Gnan, whose goal came 14 minutes into the second half.

Soon after Gnan's goal, Brieger rested some of his starters and turned to his bench, which Kailey Durkin, Theresa McFadden and Sarah Madden all delivered with goals. Ashley Lopez, Olivia Kochanek and Theresa McFadden (goal) were credited with assists as well. In all, 10 girls participated with either an assist or a score.

"We've been talking all year about expecting more and demanding more," Brieger said. "We have to go in with a mentality that we're going to win this game. We can't go in wondering what they're going to do or wonder about their best players. We need to go in and establish our tempo, our play, our style early."

Elgin Academy (1-11-3) goalie Alysson Wittmeyer had 3 or 4 key saves in the early going and finished with 14, and the defense behind her in the first 6 minutes did hold its own. But once St. Edward got rolling, the Wave was tough to stop. They held a 24-2 shot advantage and owned possession throughout.

"They're talented, they're going to go far. A lot of their girls play club in the offseason together and it definitely shows on the field," said Elgin Academy coach Shannon Walter. "It's just hard when you're playing defense for 80 minutes, there's going to be breakdowns, there's going to be mistakes."

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