The seasons came to an end Tuesday night for both Moline and United Township, but there's plenty of bright spots for the future.
Moline dropped the first game of a Class 3A regional semifinal doubleheader, falling 4-0 to Minooka while UT lost in the nightcap 3-1 to Pekin at the Moline Soccer Bowl.
"We have some nice quality pieces coming back," Moline head coach Rick Sanchez said. "Certainly we have to mature as a group and hopefully with this experience this year, we had some ups and downs in the season, hopefully they're able to gain that and come back and understand what it takes to compete in conference and in regional titles."
The Maroons lose just three starters from this team, and get back their top three scorers, including Karima Rangel, who had 20 goals and eight assists in her freshman season.
The scoring wasn't there Tuesday, however, as the Indians (16-4) took a 1-0 lead just five minutes in and stretched it to 2-0 at halftime.
The Maroons had chances to get on the board, but couldn't convert, while the Indians made the most of their chances, getting two goals from Maddie Morin in less than a minute in the second half.
"We knew when you get those kind of quality chances against a good team, you've got to take advantage of them," Sanchez said. "Obviously we didn't. I think if we take advantage of one or two of those chances, it's a different ballgame."
United Township, like Moline, fell behind 2-0 quickly but got on the board with a goal from Ryleigh O'Brien in the 27th minute to cut the lead to 2-1. Tyranie Cox's second goal of the match in the 47th minute put the Dragons up again by two goals and they hung on for the win.
United Township had chances to get back in the game in large part due to keeper Hannah Mirimanian. The junior made 11 saves, including one on a penalty kick just six minutes in. The Panthers utilized an offside trap that was effective, catching Pekin (16-3-2) offsides 10 times but also allowed too many uncontested runs. Mirimanian stood tall, saving as many as she could.
"We played decent but we could have done better. We know what to fix for next year," Mirimanian said. "You never want to feel like this again so hopefully that will motivate you to play better, play harder so you don't have to feel this again."
Mirimanian is one of the returning starters for United Township next year, as is O'Brien, who scored 17 goals this season.
"There's things to work on, there's holes to plug again," head coach Phil Weaver said. "It's the same every year coming back, you need players to start stepping up. It's about what players do between now and next February and March, what they're doing with their clubs and in the winter to come back stronger and build on the experiences they've had at this level."
In other Western Big Six regional action, Rock Island Alleman defeated East Peoria 7-0 to advance to a regional final against top-seeded Peoria Notre Dame on Friday in Peoria.