It was another installment in the St. Vincent-Saxony Lutheran rivalry, and yet another victory for the Indians.
Reese Barber made sure of that.
The junior secured a hat trick, accounting for every one of the Indians' goals, as St. Vincent defeated Saxony 3-1 on Monday at the Bank of Missouri Soccer Complex.
One of the two teams have been a representative in the Class 1 state championship for the last five seasons, and will attempt to meet again this season in yet another district title game, this time in the Class 3, District 1 tournament. At least for round one this season, St. Vincent got the upperhand and has done so the last six matchups between the two teams.
“I know that Saxony is really young this year, but they are improving with each game,” St. Vincent soccer coach Cory Strattman said. “It was good to beat a district opponent and that rivalry has been there for at least the last six years. It was definitely a nice win for the girls.”
St. Vincent (5-6) controlled much of the action from the opening kick as the game was played for a majority of the time on the Indians' offensive half. St. Vincent outshot Saxony 11-2 for the game. However, for the first 30 minutes the Saxony defense, which included Clara Brune and goalkeeper Lauren Barnes, kept the Indian offense at bay.
“Their defense played a great game,” Strattman said “I thought we could have done a little bit of a better job hitting the corners, They contested and blocked a lot of our attempts. It’s a lot harder to put the ball right where you want it, when there’s someone pressuring.”
The Indians finally found some daylight when Barber won a ball in the box, turned and fired a shot that glanced off the hand of Barnes and into the net in the 32nd minute to give St. Vincent a 1-0 lead.
Mary Schwartz had another great chance in the final minute on a breakaway, but Barnes met her at the top of the box and made the save.
Strattman had a simple message for his team at the halftime break.
“If we were playing football, we would have been up by a couple touchdowns,” Strattman said. “But this is soccer and it’s the way the sport can work. I felt like we had a great half and controlled many aspects, but only had a 1-0 lead to show for it.”
The Indians made sure that wasn’t the only goal they would muster for the game, and they did so quickly.
Cailyn Prost won a ball and took it down the left sideline, had a nice cross into the box and Barber finished the deal for a goal and a 2-0 St. Vincent advantage just two minutes into the second half.
Strattman felt like that goal was the biggest of the night.
“I thought whoever would score that second goal of the game, whether it was us or Saxony, was going to be huge,” Strattman said. “If Saxony had scored it would have given them some good momentum and the belief that they would have a good chance to win. If we got it, it would propel us the rest of the game.”
It did just that when Barber added her third goal of the night five minutes later to give St. Vincent a decisive 3-0 lead.
However, Saxony did not quit.
With 10 minutes left, Saxony freshman Maci Hollis connected on a shot for Saxony’s (2-7) lone goal of the night.
The Indians have a busy week as they have five games in six days, which includes when St. Vincent and Perryville meet on Saturday, May 1 at 10 a.m. The Pirates (9-2-2) defeated North County 6-3 on Monday.
“That’s a lot of games in a short period, but we would much rather be playing right now,” Strattman said. “I am hoping for a great game that showcases the Perryville community. We will have our hands full with them, that much I can tell you.”