For the sixth time in seven years, and for the third time at Tom Doll Field in Greenville, the Litchfield girls soccer team are regional champions.
The Lady Panthers would face Auburn in the regional final on Friday night, May 10, with both teams taking markedly different routes to get there.
Litchfield wiped out Gillespie on Tuesday by a 7-0 final score, while the Trojans needed two overtimes and a shootout to eliminate regional host Greenville.
The contest was a back and forth affair with steady play and opportunities for both sides. Litchfield struck first with a precision sequence of passes.
Carson Jackson found Jordan Morgan with a throw in at midfield. Morgan gave it back to Jackson, who sent it on to Greta Fleming, who flicked it over to Maddie Diamond.
Diamond with her back to the goal at the top of the area, found Devan Morgan making a run off her left side and she slotted it into the far corner for the goal.
Auburn would answer back with a long ball into the box that resulted in a mad scramble and an Auburn goal with 53 seconds remaining in the first half.
Litchfield’s defense of Sydney Hoehl, Jordan Ramey, Ellen Fleming, Devan Morgan and Audrey Fischer were tough as nails all night long. The defensive effort was backstopped by a prime time performance from keeper Becky Painter.
The second half would be just as tense as both teams traded chances. Devan Morgan had to step in goal for a few minutes as Painter was hurt stealing a golden opportunity away from the Trojans. Painter returned to the contest and had to save Litchfield’s season a few more times late in game.
Izzy Ray would create chances down the right side for Litchfield, but the Trojans wouldn’t break. Karly Kruse sent Greta Fleming in on a partial break, but the Auburn keeper was up to the task.
With six minutes to go, Jordan Morgan was able to find the opening she had been looking for all half. Corralling the ball at midfield, Morgan sent Maddie Diamond in behind the defense. Diamond deftly avoided the hard charging keeper, along with three defenders, and sent in the game winner.
This is Litchfield’s sixth regional title in seven years. Litchfield will host the sectional starting next Wednesday, May 15, with the winner of the Carlinville Regional, the host Cavaliers, and the winner of the Warrensburg Regional, the host Cardinals, playing at 4:30 p.m. and Litchfield playing Decatur St. Teresa at 6 p.m.
Litchfield vs. Greenville
The Litchfield Panthers soccer team rolled into Greenville for the first round of regionals on Tuesday, May 7, and would take on Gillespie. The weather kept these conference foes from facing each other in the regular season.
After a sluggish start, the Lady Panthers kicked it in to gear and would score four goals in ten minutes, starting with a free kick from Jordan Morgan with 32 minutes to go in the half.
Maddie Diamond would quickly follow with two goals of her own, sandwiched around a goal from Izzy Ray. Jordan Morgan would finish the first half with a goal with three minutes left and the Panthers would take a 5-0 lead into halftime.
The second half would be more of the same with Greta Fleming getting in on the fun, scoring ten minutes in and assisting Jordan Morgan with her third goal of the evening.
That would cut the clock in half and Litchfield would cruise home to a 7-0 victory with keeper Becky Painter recording the shutout in the one-sided affair.
The opening round victory would send Litchfield to the regional finals for the seventh year in a row.
May 7 at Greenville
Regional Semifinal Game
Litchfield 5 2 - 7
Gillespie 0 0 - 0
Goals: Litchfield - Jordan Morgan 3, Maddie Diamond 2, Izzy Ray 1, Greta Fleming 1. Goalkeeper: Litchfield - Becky Painter.
May 10 at Greenville
Regional Championship Game
Litchfield 1 1 - 2
Auburn 1 0 - 1
Goals: Litchfield - Devan Morgan 1, Maddie Diamond 1. Goalkeeper: Litchfield - Becky Painter.
Record: Litchfield (11-6).