TEUTOPOLIS — Eddie Siemer only played for about a minute or two for Teutopolis Thursday night, taking the opening kickoff against St. Anthony.
But Teutopolis dedicated its effort to the senior on Senior Night, as Siemer saw playing time for the first time this season and the last time at home in a 3-2 win Thursday.
Siemer has battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia since April 2011, and has missed all season with the disease. But he’s suited up for every game, helping with team morale on the bench.
While seniors Seth Belford and Kyle Blievernicht were also honored before the game, coach Dustin Jansen gave a speech about Siemer before the game and his sister sang the national anthem.
It was his fellow seniors that helped earn them the win, with Blievernicht netting two goals and an assist and Belford making a number of big saves against the Bulldogs.
“I think we did (Siemer) well out there, I think we did real well out there,” Jansen said. “He needs to realize how much he means to this team. The speech that I wrote before the game, it was probably the easiest speech I’ve ever written.”
Blievernicht got the Wooden Shoes on the board nearly 18 minutes into the first half, scoring a beautiful bender into the left corner of the net past St. Anthony keeper Zach Tegeler.
For a player who’s been scoring all season, Jansen had high praise for the effort on that goal.
“His first goal was remarkable, he got some good English on that ball,” Jansen said. “As far as shots go, that was his best shot all year.”
He’d score again with 4:31 remaining, after he was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick. He went right, easily scoring as Tegeler dove left.
St. Anthony coach Scott Demers was not pleased with the decision to give Blievernicht the penalty kick.
“If the state would train the referees, there would be a lot more consistency,” he said. “The foul was no foul. He may have brushed.”
It’d go back and forth from there. Belford made a huge save on a Donovan Hammer shot early in the second half, but his save went over the net, setting up St. Anthony with a corner kick. The Bulldogs would convert, scoring their first goal with 28:41 left by James Kabbes.
The teams traded possession while Belford and Tegeler made big saves until late in the third, when Blievernicht found Justin Deters on a throw-in and Deters would put Teutopolis up 3-1 with 5:51 remaining.
St. Anthony cut the deficit back to one on a goal by Jonas Amberg that got over the head of Belford and trickled toward the net, with Belford’s efforts to chase it down not paying off.
But Belford came up big late, picking up a loose ball near the net after a number of St. Anthony chances with 20 seconds left, clinching the win.
“Seth had a hiccup there, that’s a very tough ball. I’ll take that now, get that out of our system,” Jansen said. “He had some really good saves tonight, defense did a good job setting the ball up.”
Jansen credited the Wooden Shoes’ possession skills, singling out the play of Drew Kowalski and Richard Wendt to keep the offense going.
The two teams will see each other again very soon, as they have drawn one another for the Olney Regional next Tuesday.
Both coaches are familiar with one another, and for Demers, it’s pretty obvious to him what it’ll take to reverse the result and keep the Bulldogs’ season alive next week.
“More goals,” he said. “I don’t know that we’ll change anything, except do it better.”
That game begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, following the conclusion of the Olney/Altamont game at 4 p.m.
Teutopolis 2 1 3
St. Anthony 0 2 2
Teutopolis goals: Blievernicht (22:04 1st, 4:31 1st); Deters (5:51 2nd)
St. Anthony goals: Kabbes (28:41 2nd); Amberg (2:37 2nd)
Teutopolis assists: Blievernicht, Kowalski