With a potential date against top-seeded Normal Community on Tuesday, the Moline girls’ soccer team had an abundance of production from upper- and underclassmen alike in an 8-2 win over Rock Island in a 3A Pekin Regional quarterfinal matchup at the Moline Soccer Bowl on Saturday morning.
Brisk and drizzly conditions did not slow the Maroons’ (11-8-1) offense against a Rock Island (7-15) squad that has been riddled with injuries since Moline’s 2-0 regular season win on April 24.
Sophomore Karima Rangel and seniors Lily Glackin and Elexus Mowery had two goals apiece for Moline, which led 4-0 at the half.
Fellow Maroon senior Morgan Vercautren, who scored two goals in Friday’s 3-0 senior night win over Davenport Central, dished out two assists and had a number of other good-looking crosses in the win. She said she prefers assists to goals.
“They benefit my team, and letting them score is fun,” said Vercautren, a former outside back who plans to play soccer at St. Ambrose. “For my first year of playing forward ever, I think that I’ve done pretty well with scoring and assisting my team.”
Another Moline senior, Sam Cramer, appeared to injure her left ankle and was carried off the field in the first half. But Cramer went through halftime warm-ups and scored Moline’s sixth goal just three minutes after the break.
“She said, coach, I want five minutes,” said head coach Jonathan Dreasler. “Just give me five more minutes. I’m not done. And I said OK, and she was cleared to go in by the trainers, and she went in and got the result that she was looking for. And they’ll have a happy prom tonight.”
Dreasler said Mowery, who plans to play soccer at Monmouth, has been a versatile and accepting player this season.
“Elexus has done a wonderful job of filling the roll that I’ve asked her to play. There are times when I ask her to do different areas because she’s more than capable. And then (Friday and Saturday) I told her, I need everything you’ve got. I need you to get one. You need to finish today. And she got two for me. So I’m very proud of her.”
Moline freshman Lylia Gomez had a goal five minutes before halftime.
Rock Island head coach Mike Mertel said his team is down five or six players because of concussion protocol and injuries, which contributed to a more lopsided loss this time.
Senior Vanessa Holland and junior Kayla Garcia scored the Rocky goals in the second half. The Rocks were out-shot 20-13.
“They have an experienced core, and they showed that tonight,” said Mertel of Moline. “But I’m proud of my girls. Even the last couple minutes, we still had opportunities and played with intensity.”
Dreasler said his team has the tools in place for a potential upset as they have grown as a team since the season began with a 4-0 loss to Normal Community. Tuesday’s rematch will provide a worthy test of how much the team has improved, and how well it executes the game plan.
“We’ve polished a lot in many different areas, not only offensively through the midfield, but in the backs, since the first time we played Community,” said Dreasler.
“I think we have good momentum going into our game on Tuesday, which is crucial,” said Vercautren. “We don’t want it to be our last game. We’re just ready.”