By Kyle Daubs
With two winnable games, Mattoon could move up the conference standings this week.
The Mattoon Green Wave, fresh off a 7-0 victory over county rival Charleston, will have two Apollo Conference tests this week. Mattoon plays host to Lincoln tonight and travels to Taylorville in a varsity-only contest Thursday.
“We have been able to put the ball in the net,” said coach Ryan Ghere. “We are still learning and growing as a defensive team. We are very young in the back but have played better each game. It was a big win against a cross-county rival the other day but we need to refocus and prepare for a busy stretch of the season. We have four games this week and four next week.”
Mattoon, which beat Warrensburg-Latham on Monday night behind Lillian Ghere’s two assists and two goals, is 3-2 and 1-1 in the Apollo.
The Green Wave has a grueling two-week stretch. Besides the three games listed above, Mattoon faces Urbana on Friday, Danville next Monday and then Mahomet-Seymour and Mt. Zion.
Usually, by this time, Mattoon would be getting ready for a Regional. Instead, the team is in the middle of the regular season.
“It is very different just getting started when normally we are winding down right now for postseason,” said Ghere. “We are just glad to be playing and having a regional this season. With the offensive players that we have, we feel we can beat anyone.”
As for Charleston, the Trojans’ schedule doesn’t get easier. Charleston will look to bounce back from their loss against two of the Apollo favorites at home. The Trojans edged St. Teresa Monday night behind a five-goal effort by freshman Ella Garrett. Charleston next plays conference leader Mahomet-Seymour (2-0) tonight, followed by Mount Zion, a 6-4 winner over Mattoon, on Thursday.
“We have a tough week ahead in conference play with Mahomet and Mt. Zion both coming to Charleston,” said coach Josh Garrett. “We are still very inexperienced overall as a team so a lot will hopefully change as we continue to teach them the game. Some things are starting to click in practice so we’re excited to see if we can implement these ideas in games.
Mahomet-Seymour enters play with a 3-1 overall record and owns a 5-0 win over Mount Zion, 8-0 win over Taylorville and 2-1 win over Normal University. Their lone loss came at the start of the season, a 3-2 defeat to Big 12 Conference heavy hitter Normal Community.
Mount Zion, also 3-1, owns a 7-0 win over Monticello and a 7-1 win over Danville, as well as their win over Mattoon.
“To beat either of these teams, we’ll have to possess and move the ball much better than we did against Mattoon,” said Garrett. “That starts with being in the right space on the field. Mt. Zion and Mahomet Seymour.”