BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — In a 50-second span, Kendall Wendt and the Alleman girls soccer team took charge in Tuesday's Class 1A Bloomington Central Catholic Sectional semifinal. From there, the Pioneers cruised to a 3-1 win over Pleasant Plains.
Less than nine minutes into the first half, Ella DeSmet slipped a pass between two Cardinals and Wendt was sent in alone. She patiently waited for an opening and scored into the far corner. Less than a minute later, Skylar Thorpe made a great feed to Wendt, and she again went in alone and scored again.
“Everything we do is pattern play and our girls all know where to be and where to pass the ball,” Alleman coach Randy Bollman said. “We did an extremely good job of starting the game. We controlled the ball, we moved the ball and got ourselves in a nice rhythm.”
Wendt’s two goals gave her eight in three postseason games for the Pioneers, who take a 10-6-2 record into Friday's title match against BCC. The hosts were a 2-0 winner over Springfield Lutheran in Tuesday’s opening semifinal.
“I just think we are working as a team by passing the ball well and creating shots,” Wendt said. “Everyone is doing their job.”
Wendt was marked heavily in the second half, but still had four or five great chances to add to her total.
“That’s something she will have to attack the rest of the way,” Bollman said. “What’s nice about that is we have a lot of girls who can score.”
The Pioneers went up 3-0 late in the first half when the Pleasant Plains defender slipped and Isabelle Pinc step in front of her, controlled the ball and fired a 30-yard shot into the far top corner.
From there, the Pioneers used their speed and skill to keep the Cardinals (21-3-1) away from the Alleman goal box. And when they did get close, keeper Billi Fleck was always there to make the stop with her aggressive style.
“Billi really knows the angles and we want her to be aggressive,” Bollman said. “She knows where the ball is all the time. I thought we defended them very well the whole way. We didn’t know anything about them, but we have seen a lot of teams who like to go for the long ball and we can defend that.”
Fleck said her aggressiveness comes from her upbringing.
“My dad kind of raised me as a tomboy and wanted me to be aggressive in sports,” she said. “I love playing that style, it is a lot easier for me. I think when I come out the way I do it makes the opponent think a little more.
“Obviously, it helps when we get those first two goals. It is kind of a relief for everyone, but we also knew we couldn’t let down after that.”
The Cardinals did not score on Fleck. Their lone goal came with 53 seconds remaining, after Fleck exited when given a yellow card for elbowing a Pleasant Plains player.
“Honestly, it was an accident,” she said. “I was going for the ball and just hit the girl. I do feel bad about it. That’s why we had to keep playing hard after we got that lead. That could have been a big goal, instead it didn’t mean much.”