The Collinsville Lady Kahok soccer team knocked off Granite City Thursday night 2-1 to claim their fourth consecutive Southwestern Conference crown.
Played in a steady rain and blustery wind, both teams played an even first half and went into the break tied at one. Sophia Sharos put the Lady Kahoks (8-3-1, 6-0 SWC) on top midway through the opening period when she hit a rocket over the goalkeepers head from 30 yards out on a dead ball.
The Warriors (5-4-3, 2-2 SWC) came out to play, earning numerous first-half corner kicks before capitalizing on a chance to tie the match when Collinsville failed to clear.
“We got caught ball watching,” Collinsville Head Coach Clay Smith said.
The Kahoks have four seniors on the roster, all with scholarships to continue playing soccer in college, but it was a freshman that delivered the big blow to ensure the seniors finished their careers with a championship in each season. Emily Holten beat her defender at about the halfway point of the second half, got the ball to her left foot and buried a shot in the lower, left-hand corner.
The conference winner was the second game winner for the freshman, who is second on the team with five goals and 12 points. Sharios got the assist on the play.
From there, the defense stepped up, Smith said.
“With the ball skipping all over, you don’t know what kind of bounce it’s going to take on that grass,” Smith said. “They did a great job.”
Winning the conference championship four consecutive years was quite an accomplishment, Smith said.
“Some of those seniors have had their name on that plaque since they were freshman,” Smith said.
Smith singled out the defense, hit hardest by the departure of six senior starters from last year’s Super Sectional team, for praise.
“Credit to our defense, a lot of games have been one-goal games,” Smith said. “They have done a great job.”
The victory over Granite City was the Kahoks fourth one-goal conference victory, and their fourth overall.
Collinsville returns to Kahok Stadium Monday for a 6:30 p.m. contest against Althoff.