A lightning delay got the match off to an awkward start, but the Alleman girls soccer team was unfazed, beating Indian Creek 7-0 to win a Class 1A regional title on Friday night.
The top-seeded Pioneers (15-2-1) dominated possession and held the third-seeded Timberwolves (7-7-1) to just three shots with only one on goal. Alleman advances to face second-seeded Byron — a 2-0 winner over Stillman Valley on Friday — in Wednesday’s Hinckley-Big Rock Sectional semifinal at 5 p.m.
The Pioneers racked up 26 shots with 20 on goal as regional hosts at Augustana College’s Thorsen-Lucken Field.
Just three minutes into the game, the 30-minute delay forced players off the field.
It took some time to get going, but Abby Glackin opened the scoring with a goal off an Audrey Erickson corner in the 27th minute. That paved the way to a 2-0 halftime lead as senior defender Colleen Kenney scored two goals, freshman Mackenzie Burkett scored one from distance, sophomore Kristina Johannes scored off a deflection, and sophomore Meredith Maynard finished the last two scores.
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The seventh goal came with 10 minutes left to shorten the remaining time to five minutes. Indian Creek junior keeper Molly Feitlich made a number of impressive denials and had 13 saves, but Alleman's attack was just too much.
“I think we were just really playing our hearts out, we really wanted to come into this game and show out,” Kenney said. “We’re really playing for the hurt (players) and just everyone. We wanted to make a good comeback after last year and I think we did that.”
Kenney finished a penalty kick in the 50th minute and handled the center back role. She said the team is playing well overall and the offensive control has helped the defensive side.
“I think age didn’t really matter to us; we know we’re a young team and pretty much sophomore and freshman-dependent,” Kenney said. “We just couldn’t really let that faze us and we worked hard every day and especially in the preseason. We thought we needed to show how good we are and what we can do.”
Alleman has continued to play especially hard for its injured players.
“A lot of people have done well at new positions and being in awkward situations,” Kenney said. “I think this is a good win this week, but we need to put this game past us. It doesn’t matter anymore. The teams are going to get tougher so we just need to keep working hard.”
Glackin said it feels amazing to win a regional title.
“I think we’re all really proud of ourselves and that we’ve worked so hard for this,” she said, “and that we continue to do great things.”
With multiple players out with injuries, the team has gotten the job done so far.
“It was difficult seeing people get injured and difficult bouncing back, but we knew at practice that people were going to start playing more,” she said. “They’ve definitely stepped up to the plate and it’s been great.”
A team with 17 of its 22 players being freshmen or sophomores has continued to show that its age doesn’t matter.
“We continue to show people that the younger (players) can do it and that we can do great things,” Glackin said, “and I think we keep proving this.”
The regional title is Alleman’s first since 2019. The Pioneers fell in the Class 2A regional final a year ago.
Second-year coach Chad Hollmer said the team played extremely well in the second half after the early weather delay was a bit deflating.
The Pioneers have outscored their first two postseason opponents 19-0. Their next opponent, Byron (17-3-1), has won 10 straight games and finished second in the Big Northern Conference. The Tigers tied Rock Island 0-0 earlier in the season; Alleman tied Rock Island 1-1.
“We’ve just got to worry about ourselves,” Hollmer said. “If we play and work hard, we’ll put ourselves in a decent position. The games are only going to get tougher from here on out and that’s kind of what we expect."