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Not half bad

NORMAL — For the first 30 minutes of Tuesday's Normal Community West Class 2A Girls Soccer Sectional, it was hard to tell who the undefeated team was.

Morris was playing unbeaten Charleston in the Redskins' first sectional soccer appearance ever and was standing toe to toe with the Lady Trojans in a scoreless contest.

"I think we could have won the game," Morris midfielder Kirsten Galloway said. "It's a bummer to end on this note, but we had a great season and hung tough with them. We just needed better possessions and shots."

"We had a good chance here today," Morris coach Kristen Porter said. "We expected a tougher game from a team that was coming in with an 18-0-2 record. We felt we had a chance to pull it off today."

Then the winds of change struck, and those zephyrs favored Charleston.

In the 30th minute, Madi Fisher scored off an assist from Ali Carson, and a little over a minute later, Megan Hjort scored from 30 yards out on a direct kick. The Trojans would go on to prevail by a 3-0 score.

The wind was blowing straight out of the south, leaving the stadium flags starch right from the opening kickoff.

"In the first half, we had the advantage with the wind, and I told the girls that they needed to capitalize with it," Porter said. "We had some close calls, but we couldn't put the ball in the net."

Galloway and Amanda Grant had first half shots while Charleston ended with four shots on goal in the first 40.

"I thought we should have done more with the wind in the first half," Galloway said. "We got good kicks up the field but we didn't control the ball or have hard shots on goal."

"We wanted to come out aggressive and we did, but we struggled putting the ball in the goal today," Charleston coach Paul Stranz said. "I thought we did a good job of moving the ball, but we have to do a little better with our shot selection and finishing. Overall, I thought we played well and controlled the game."

In the second half, Morris had quality chances from Emily Burling in about the 64th minute but that was about the extent of the Redskins offense. Makenzie Burgess scored the final goal with an assist from Hjort off of backup keeper Brooklyn Enger in the 35th minute after senior goalie Stephenie Wiekert came off the field with a foot injury.

Morris ends the season with an 8-9-2 record. Wiekert is the lone senior on the team this year.

"We feel bad to be losing her because she is such a pillar on the team," Porter said, "but we feel confident that we have something to build on here."

"Next season we should be even better," Galloway said. "We made history at the school this year, things can only get better from there."

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