By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
FENTON - Bishop LeBlond had trouble getting any offensive attack going against Father Tolton on Friday.
Heck, the Golden Eagles were held without a single shot-on-goal in the match.
Yet, LeBlond was in contention until the end. Junior goalkeeper Maddie Sego was a big reason for that. Despite Sego's 13 saves, LeBlond fell 1-0 against Father Tolton in a Class 1 girls' state semifinal at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton on a warm and steamy afternoon.
"I'm super proud of all of my teammates," Sego said. "We gave it our all, we tried our hardest. I think we'll come out of this feeling pretty good."
From the very start, Tolton (17-8-1) kept control of the ball and kept the attack on LeBlond's side of the pitch. The Eagles, though, managed to keep it scoreless through the first 52 minutes of play.
The Trailblazers, who were held scoreless in the first half despite nine shots-on-goal, scored on their first shot attempt of the second half when senior Macie Parmer launched the ball into the air, straight over the middle of the 18-yard box, and high into the back of the net.
Tolton led 1-0 with 28:03 remaining.
The Trailblazers had 14 shots-on-goal through the whole match and also six corner kicks. But with their backs against the wall, Sego and the Golden Eagles defense did all they could to give themselves a chance.
"We could critique a lot of things, but the effort they put in today, you can't take anything away from them there," LeBlond head coach Chad Thompson said. "They struggled quite a bit just getting a passing game going. We played a lot of (goal) clearance and that's hard to control."
Offensively, LeBlond had an early opportunity with their only corner kick of the match coming just 13 minutes into the first half. Tolton had it covered up, though, and no shot came from it.
The Trailblazers kept LeBlond's strikers out of contention the entire time, as Tolton controlled the passes and tempo on offense.
"Father Tolton kept the pressure high on us and kept their team pushed up," Thompson said. "It's hard to transition out of that. Our defense and Maddie Sego had a phenomenal game. That was the best game (Maddie) had of her career this year."
"I was just a wall, I guess," Sego said. "I wasn't going to let anything get by me and I knew my teammates had my side and...yeah."
The conditions weren't ideal either, as afternoon highs touched 90 degrees in Fenton. On artificial turf, that feels like 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit. There were mandatory water breaks in each half.
LeBlond has about 20 or so hours to rest and replenish. The Golden Eagles will face Saxony Lutheran (12-9) for third place on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Given the fact this is LeBlond's first ever Final Four in girls' soccer, and given the fact that the Golden Eagles have five freshmen in their starting lineup, there's nothing this team has to hang their head about after a tough effort on Friday came up a little short.
"We're going to drink plenty of fluids," Thompson said. "We're going to try and have a little fun. See the (Gateway) Arch and walk around a little bit. For the seniors, this is our last 'hoorah' as a team, and we're going to try to go make it memorable and fun."
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