Father McGivney gets revenge against Althoff for regional crown

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BELLEVILLE — Diego Pacheco was looking forward to a chance at payback.

So were his Father McGivney soccer teammates.

Pacheco and the Griffins got their revenge on Saturday by beating Althoff 2-0 in the Class 1A Althoff Regional title match in Belleville. It is the program’s second successive regional title.

Althoff knocked Father McGivney from post-season play in the sectional round last season.

“It’s pretty nice considering we talked about it all week, how we got knocked off by Althoff in the sectional final last year,” Pacheco said. “We just wanted to come out here on their field and get payback.”

McGivney (13-9-1) will face Mt. Carmel in a Columbia Sectional semifinal at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Mater Dei and Columbia meet in the other semifinal at 7 p.m.

The Griffins came out with a point to prove right from the opening whistle.

Pacheco got the ball rolling by pounding home a penalty kick in the 12th minute.

McGivney coach Tim Vance said junior defender Matthew Gierer played a key role in the tally.

“Matthew created a foul in the box for Diego to put away a PK,” Vance said. “That first goal was monumental to build confidence for us. We were able to withhold their storm at the beginning.”

McGivney doubled the lead on a rocket-like free kick from Jonah Mitan in the 51st minute.

“I felt like it was one of my areas where I could just rip one,” Mitan said. “I’ve scored from there before. I just ripped it and it ended up going in.”

The two-goal lead was more than enough for Griffins junior keeper Jackson Podshadley, who earned his sixth solo clean sheet.

“We were super-organized and we won just about every head ball in the box, which was huge,” Vance said. “Jackson made a couple saves. They did have a couple chances, but nothing too crazy.”

The Griffins are ready to keep on going after crossing a major hurdle.

“We’ve been preparing for this since the beginning of the season,” Mitan said. “Any team we play, we want to beat – it doesn’t matter who.”

Althoff ends the season at 11-8-1.

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