The Hillsboro varsity girls soccer team finds itself in a familiar position tonight. The Hawks will meet Windsor to determine the Class 3, District 2 champion this evening at Festus High School. Hillsboro will be looking to win its third straight district title.
According to senior Abby Schacht, the third time will be a charm if the Hawks just do what they do best. “I believe that if we play our game and hold our composure, then we have a good chance to take the title.”
Hillsboro got to this place by handling the DeSoto Dragons 4-0 on Monday. The Hawks had played the Dragons last Friday, defeating them handily, 7-1. This game was a little tighter. “It’s always tough to play the same team in a short amount of time,” head coach Chris Schacht commented. “I thought our girls did a good job of remaining patient and sharing the ball looking for quality chances.”
The first opportunity the Hawks were able to cash in on was with 18:16 to go in the first half. Raechel Hamilton, who played a very aggressive game offensively, found the back of the net off a helper from Bre Sebaugh to give Hillsboro the only goal it would need. Hamilton would strike again about ten minutes later to put Hillsboro on top 2-0, which would be the halftime score. Hamilton said the entire team felt the momentum shift when the goals started coming. “The whole team working together is what was giving me so many good opportunities,” she said. “Without all of us working together, the goals would not have happened.”
There was just a sense that the Hawks’ offense would keep coming at the Dragons in the second half. There was also a sense that the Dragons weren’t going to get too many opportunities to get back into the game. “Our goal coming into the game was to shut the other team out, and we did that allowing a minimal amount of shots,” said Coach Schacht. “When we play well, it’s usually because the girls up front are scoring goals to take pressure off the girls in the back, or the girls in the back are doing a good job of shutting the other team down helping take pressure off the girls up front.”
The Hawks dominated play in the second half, but there were no goals until there was just 5:37 left in the match. A goal was scored that was celebrated with an audible roar from the crowd, and a lot of jubilation on the field. Chelsea Dutton, a sophomore, scored her first career varsity goal to make it 3-0. “I was running down the field, and I could tell the goal was open,” she said. “I could see a girl on my right side, and their goalie started to come out to cut off the angle, and I could tell the opposite post was still wide open. So I shot to that corner before they could close off the gap. I felt extremely excited once I watched it pass the goalie’s hands, because I knew at that point it was going in. Once that happened, I just couldn’t contain my excitement.”
To put an exclamation point on the night, Abby Schacht added a goal with 1:48 to go to bring the final margin to 4-0. Sebaugh and Mollie Dulle both added two assists for the match, and Kenzie Baker notched her ninth shutout in goal, a new single season school record. Not bad for a girl who had never played goalie before this season. She made three saves. The Hawks had 17 shots on net.
“The biggest thing is that, at this time of year, you just get the win and move on,” Coach Schacht pointed out. “As I always tell the players, each time you win a game, you cut the field in half. So we went from 64 teams to 32 teams remaining.”
The Hawks will try to join the field of 16 tonight. The match begins at 5:00 p.m. at Festus High School. Hillsboro and Windsor have met one previous time this season, a 1-0 Hawks victory on penalty kicks. Story on previous game vs. Windsor. Tonight’s game is a rematch of last year’s district title match. The Hawks enter the contest 14-7-1, while Windsor is 10-12.