The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Girl Soccer Has ‘Good Shot’ of State Run

Junior+Mea+Hook+talks+to+junior+Blakely+Hockett+and+senior+Kylie+Peel+during+the+April+15+loss+to+OFallon.
Junior Mea Hook talks to junior Blakely Hockett and senior Kylie Peel during the April 15 loss to O’Fallon.

19-4.

That was the girls soccer team’s record last season, which, according to MaxPreps, ranked them among the best teams in the nation. The Tigers dropped one game to St. Joseph’s Academy, a top squad in the area, but the other three losses came from one team: the O’Fallon Panthers.

The final of those three losses was in sectionals, where the Tigers couldn’t stop O’Fallon’s scoring onslaught. 

This season, the 5-2 Tigers still haven’t been able to best their Southwestern Conference rivals, as the reigning state champions have scored a goal in each of their two shutout wins over Edwardsville.

For once, Edwardsville is the underdog. Who will be the Tiger to take down O’Fallon for the first time in three years?

Junior attacking midfielder Mea Hook is a strong candidate. The University of North Dakota commit is in her third year as a varsity starter and has already scored three goals this season, racking up seven points in as many games.

“Being a player [who’s] relied on is fun,” Hook said. “I get to play with great players and knowing I’m trusted by them is an awesome feeling. Being a threat just comes with having a team behind you that helps be the best I can.”

Hook netted her first goal in the home opener against Triad, but it was her score against Cor Jesu Academy that may be more notable, given Cor Jesu’s No. 22 rank in the nation. Hook said the “well-struck shot that went in the side net from outside the 18-yard box,” her second of the season, meant more than her prior score against Triad.

“Scoring is always fun, but I loved that goal,” she said. “Knowing some of the girls on Cor Jesu and how impressive they are makes the feeling after scoring that much better.”

Senior attacking midfielder Kylie Peel, who also scored against Cor Jesu, is another force on the pitch. In her third year on varsity, she’s already the third-highest scorer on the team, scoring three times and recording another assist, and is on pace to match her 25-point total from last season.

“Sometimes [scoring] feels like a lot of pressure,” Peel said. “But I like that a lot of people find me reliable.”

For Peel, who said that “O’Fallon is the only team that may be standing in our way” of a deep playoff run, the key to beating the Panthers is who’s playing on the field, not the play itself.

“We have to have a fully healthy team,” Peel said. “We have to want it more than them in the end. We will need to have more energy and really outwork them.”

Some of that energy comes from sophomore goalie Genny Burroughs’ net presence, where she’s posted a 0.65 goals against average, starting all seven games of her second season on varsity. Last season, she was promoted to starting netminder down the final stretch of the season, going 5-1 in her final six starts.

“The starter in ahead of me unfortunately had a couple of tough games against tough opponents,” Burroughs said. “So [coach Abby Federmann] put trust in my abilities and gave my the opportunity to show what I can do.”

According to Burroughs, the credit for her dominant statline goes to the 10 players in front of her.

“There’s so much that happens in front of me that limits the shots I see,” she said. “Our midfield does a very good job at keeping possession, controlling the field and connecting passes. Another shoutout to the back line for staying connected … and getting the ball out of danger.”

That danger has mostly evaded Burroughs and the Tigers, as the team has only allowed five goals all season with O’Fallon scoring two of them.

Despite their O’Fallon frustrations, the Tigers are ranked No. 80 in the nation by MaxPreps and as the No. 12 team in Illinois. According to Peel and Hook, the team will overcome their Panther demons and win their first state title.

“We have so much room to grow collectively as a team,” Hook said. “As long as we work with one another as best we can, we have a good shot of ending the season with a state title.”