HERSCHER — Well, it didn’t take long to experience some real high school postseason drama. It came on the very first day of spring regional competition where the Coal City soccer team finally found a way to beat Herscher in the playoffs, in turn ending the Tigers’ season.
Last year Coal City lost to Herscher in the Herscher Class 1A Regional championship and the year before that the Coalers lost to the Tigers 2-0 in the finals at Herscher. The year before that, the locals lost to Herscher 2-0 in the semifinals of that same regional.
Not only that, but according to Coal City senior Donjeta Shabani, over the last four years the Coalers had never beaten Herscher — even in the regular season — until last week. Coal City beat Herscher 1-0 last week before plunking a 5-0 victory down around their ears on Wednesday in the regional.
“When we had played them on Thursday, both teams had played multiple games in a row leading up to then,” Coal City coach Michael Kostbade said. “Since then, we’ve had adequate rest and we came out with a lot of energy on the offensive end (Wednesday). Lisle was the same way. We scored in bunches that day, too. It’s like, once the tide gets turned, we ride it out.”
Of course, beating Herscher in the postseason was just one step in the right direction for the Coalers. As senior Megan Jessen pointed out, ‘there’s nothing on our soccer board in the gym. Nobody has ever won a regional before’.
Well, girls you can knock the cobwebs off that old board.
To get its first piece of hardware, the Coalers had to win on Friday night against Reed-Custer, which they did by a 1-0 score. Coal City had won the regular-season meeting between the two teams by a 3-0 score, but this one had a true defensive feel to it. In fact, by my count there were 17 shots on goal combined by the two teams.
High school playoff soccer at its finest.
Two dates into the spring season and we’ve already had high drama. This has the potential to be a really interesting ending to spring.