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Nerinx Hall ekes past Collinsville in top-10 showdown

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WEBSTER GROVES • Brian Haddock has an embarrassment of riches.

The Nerinx Hall soccer coach spends most matches throwing one set of fresh legs after the other into the attack and letting them run wild.

“A lot of times that can wear an opponent down,” Haddock said.

It proved crucial Tuesday as the Markers eked out a 2-1 win at home over Collinsville.

The No. 4 team in the large-schools rankings, Nerinx (10-2-1) got the game-winning goal when Bailey Greubel lofted a free kick from about 30 yards out that fluttered into the box and slipped under the crossbar midway through the second half.

“It was just unlucky,” Collinsville assistant coach Jodie Bales said.

Sixth-ranked Collinsville (7-3) was without head coach Clay Smith. He was unable to attend Tuesday’s match after being ejected from last week’s game with O’Fallon. A player or coach who is issued a red card is automatically ineligible to participate in the following match.

The Kahoks spent most of the first half on their heels as Nerinx knocked the ball around and dominated time of possession.

“We’ve been working on possession a lot,” Nerinx striker Lauren Holder said. “We worked really well together.”

Holder notched the first goal less than 10 minutes into the first half as she took a nice feed from Hailey VanDerleest on the left side of the box, found some space at the top of the box and buried it.

“I was shocked I got the shot off,” Holder said. “Hailey played a great ball.”

Collinsville showed a much more aggressive, dynamic attack in the second half as it kept the ball for longer stretches and generated more chances. Mikalya McCarthy tied the game 10 minutes into the second half when she notched her 11th goal of the season. She buried a spectacular chance that was created by a well-played through-ball from the midfield.

Just as Collinsville found an extra bounce in its step, the Markers were able to take the lead once again on Greubel's floater. A physical game, both teams earned their share of fouls. The Kahoks had a free kick from just outside the Nerinx box with just under 20 seconds in the second half, but the shot went straight into the Markers’ wall. When it was cleared down the field, Nerinx had the victory sewn up.

“We found out we can compete if it’s physical, if it’s finesse or its both. Collinsville is so tough because they’re so physical,” Haddock said. “They have skillful players, and when you combine those things with size and speed, it’s hard to defend. Our girls adapted to it well.”

Collinsville didn’t get the result it wanted, but Bales thought the team did what it could to give itself a shot at the victory.

“I thought it was a well-fought game. We started a little slow in the first half,” she said. “I think we held up fairly well. I thought they steady pressured us, but we handled it well.”

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