Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Incarnate Word, Howell N. Roll into Title Showdown

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Incarnate Word, Howell N. Roll into Title Showdown

Article excerpt

The showdown - top-ranked Incarnate Word Academy against No. 2 Francis Howell North - is set.

And the state championship is at stake.

Two-time defending champion Incarnate Word (28-2-1) and Howell North (26-1-1) will meet for the Missouri high school girls soccer title match at 8 tonight at St. Louis University's Billiken Sports Center.

In Friday's semifinals, Howell North beat Nerinx Hall 3-0 and Incarnate Word rolled to a 5-1 victory over St. Teresa's Academy of Kansas City.

Howell North and Incarnate Word, the top two teams in the Post-Dispatch poll, have met twice this year. Howell North won 3-2 early in the season and the teams tied 1-1 in the title game of the St. Dominic-Francis Howell North Shootout. Incarnate Word won that championship in penalty kicks.

"We're confident in what we can do offensively and defensively, but I'm sure Incarnate Word feels the same way," Howell North coach Dan Hogan said. "What you have here is two very good soccer teams. It should be a great game for the fans.

"And an antacid game for the coaches."

Howell North, making its first final four appearance, took care of Nerinx, thanks to senior co-captain Tracy Grose. She had two goals and an assist.

"We expected a good game, and it was," said Grose, who has 37 goals and 12 assists this spring. "We knew it was important to get on top early. That was a real key."

Nerinx Hall came out strong, but Howell North quickly gained control. The Knights, after missing on a number of good chances, grabbed the lead at the 14-minute mark.

Grose intercepted a fullback kick and fed Erin Waller with a through pass. Waller pushed the shot past goalie Jackie Adamec.

The Markers, who lost 1-0 to Incarnate in last year's title game, came out strong again at the start of the second half.

"We played well, especially in the second half," Nerinx coach Tim Champion said. …

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