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updated: 5/14/2013 8:20 PM

St. Edward stays true to form in sectional semi

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By Steve Nichols
snichols@dailyherald.com

What has become evident through three postseason games for the St. Edward girls soccer team is that at the very least, seven-goal wins are simply the norm.

And Tuesday's win over Woodlands Academy was no exception.

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Just as they disposed of Elgin Academy (8-0) and Westminster Christian (7-0) similarly last week in regionals, the Green Wave yet again put on a show early in a 7-0 win over the Wildcats in a Class 1A Westminster Christian sectional semifinal in Elgin.

For the postseason alone, the Wave (15-6-2) have outscored their opponents 22-0, having not allowed a goal in five-straight games. Tuesday's win advances St. Edward to the sectional final for the third-straight year, where the Green Wave will await the winner today's Willows Academy vs. Gordon Tech game. The sectional title game us at Westminster on Friday at 4 p.m.

Within all that goal scoring on Tuesday, midfielder Meagan Kearney notched a hat trick while forward Allison Kruk managed 2 goals and 2 assists as the Wave outshot Woodlands (4-6-1) 19-0 in the first half, 25-3 overall and yet again dominated possession. Goalie Paige Dykstra only needed to make 2 saves late.

"It feels kind of amazing and I didn't expect it," said Kearney, who had a hat trick in her first game as a freshman last year. "It's just all of us kind of working together to get into the Sweet Sixteen, trying to go as far as we can in the playoffs."

Neither team saw each other during the season in either competition or on game film. Woodlands beat a common opponent in Elgin Academy 1-0, so one of the keys for St. Edward was to get out to a fast start and get passes out wide.

Four minutes in, Kruk scored on a cross from Monica Ramirez out wide along the left sideline and nearly 3 minutes later in the 8th minute, Kruk converted on a header via a corner kick from Corey Lepoudre to make it 2-0.

Kearney than capitalized on a great lead over the top from defender Rena Ranallo, who snagged the ball at midfield that led to a tap-in and a 3-0 lead.

MaryKate Nastali's goal in the 30th minute sent the Wave into the half up 4-0 and it was time for Kearney to get the hat trick.

She did so with 2-straight goals 10 minutes into the second half and Sarah Madden's unassisted goal in the 62nd minute allowed for time to run off.

"Sure, we've been dominating," Kearney said. "As (coach Tim Brieger) always says, 'we can do way better.' So it's like helping us with our strength as a team."

Which is why Brieger was so critical after the win.

"I just think we're getting kind of complacent," he said. "We need to execute better. Our passing selection needs to be better. Our finishing -- we're still trying to take near-post shots from bad angles. We're not looking to the open girl; we're holding too long.

"I want us to play our game, and not fall into 'OK, we can do this this game,' because they're going to get harder, definitely the next one on Friday. Someone tough is going to come up and bite us in the (rear). But I was pleased."

Woodlands coach Matthew Wilen was quick to point out a major advantage for the Green Wave.

"They had a lot of speed. We were a little overmatched with the speed. I think that was the biggest difference," he said. "We were just overmatched. Plus the heat. Plus the injuries. Just couldn't have done it."

Wildcats goalie Jen Slaughter was much like the exhausted goalies St. Edward has faced this postseason. She accounted for 14 saves, another trend among opposing goalies.

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