Alleman, Orion-Sherrard eye 1A regional soccer crowns

Posted Online: May 11, 2014, 9:57 pm
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By Daniel Makarewicz,
MOLINE -- When the Alleman girls' soccer team constructed its goals for the season, reaching the Class 1A state tournament obviously was among them.

So was talking about the desired destination.

"We're open with each other," Alleman senior midfielder Maggie Murphy said. "We're not afraid to talk about it."

Faced with the pressure they created, the Pioneers are anxious in making this become a reality. Armed with experience and talent, Alleman hopes to start a path to uncharted territory when it opens play in the Class 1A Princeton Regional this week.

"At the end of the day, getting to state is a realistic expectation," Alleman coach Randy Bollman said. "We just have to play every game as it comes."

For a program that has three regional titles on its resume, Alleman certainly is setting lofty expectations.

"If some people hear it, it will shock them," Murphy said. "I don't think it matters what people think. We know we can get there. If other people don't think so, it's fine. We'll show them differently."

Entering postseason on a four-match winning streak, the Pioneers (10-5-1) are the top seed in the four-team Princeton Regional. None of those five losses have come against Class 1A opponents, offering encouragement this team is capable of competing for big things.

First up is defending their regional title. After that comes the Mendota Sectional.

Five wins is what it will take for Alleman to reach Naperville.

"Can we do it? We've got a good opportunity to do that if we show up and play out of our minds," Bollman said. "We'll find out if we can play out of our minds."

The journey starts on Tuesday.

"We're looking forward to it," Murphy said. "We're ready."

Orion-Sherrard eyes history: For the first time in program history, Orion-Sherrard enters postseason as a top regional seed. Orion-Sherrard also is shooting for its first-ever regional championship.

"The girls are proud to have earned the No. 1 regional seed and look forward to the opportunity to show why they received it," Orion-Sherrard coach Rick Cline said.

Since a 4-1 loss against Alleman last month, Orion-Sherrard has gone unbeaten in its last 13 matches entering the Class 1A Chillicothe IVC Regional. During that stretch, it has posted nine shutouts and allowed five goals.

"We recognize in our program that our defense creates our offense," Cline said. "Every player buys into the notion that we're first at defending. If we play rock-solid defense, it will create good scoring opportunities for us. We've gotten better as finishers. We look forward to the test.

"We want to be peaking at the right time."

Regional soccer preview capsule

Class 1A Princeton Regional
Where: Tiskilwa Soccer Pitch, Tiskilwa
Semifinal pairings: No. 1 Alleman (10-5-1) vs. No. 4 Spring Valley Hall, 5 p.m. Tuesday; No. 2 Princeton vs. No. 3 DePue, 5 p.m. Wednesday
Championship: 4:30 p.m. Friday
FYI: The Pioneers are looking to win their second consecutive regional title. ... Alleman finished with back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2004-05. ... The regional winner faces the Rockford Christian Life Regional champion in the Genoa-Kingston Sectional semifinals on May 20.

Class 1A Chillicothe IVC Regional
Where: Illinois Valley Central High School, Chillicothe
Semifinal pairings: No. 1 Orion-Sherrard (17-1-1) vs. No. 4 Macomb, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday; No. 2 Chillicothe IVC vs. No. 3 Canton, 6 p.m. Tuesday
Championship: 6 p.m. Friday
FYI: Orion-Sherrard already has surpassed the single-season program record for victories and enter postseason on a 13-match unbeaten streak. ... Baillie McCunn's 36 goals lead the area. ... The regional winner faces the Charleston Regional champion in the Maroa-Forsyth Sectional semifinals on May 21.


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