By Chet Piotrowski

When is a loss not really a loss, even though you were beaten on the scoreboard?

“It’s rare that you’re somewhat pleased with a loss,” Charleston coach Josh Garrett said after his squad lost 2-0 to Mattoon a few weeks after losing 7-0 to the Green Wave on April 29. “But that’s what I would call it – somewhat pleased. The progress was there and we played better soccer.”

Isabella Kieffer, a wall at times for the Charleston defense, faced 17 shots.

“She played great,” Garrett said of his goalkeeper. “She works hard. I don’t know what else to say. She was great. She was composed. The goals they scored were going to be tough to get to.”

Charleston held Mattoon scoreless well into the second half until Lily Ghere put the Green Wave ahead 1-0 with a shot from outside into the top corner at 14:38.

Mattoon scored 11 minutes later on a corner kick that was redirected by Piper Sanders into the back of the net from three yards out.

Mattoon’s Lily Ghere and Callan Haldorsen celebrate the Green Wave’s first goal. (Photo/Chet Piotrowski)

Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere credits Charleston’s adjustments to stifle his team.

“They made an adjustment and packed the back,” he said. “We struggled to score from long range. It was frustrating with all those corner kicks that we dropped in there. Finally, Piper dropped one in there to make it 2-0, but, you know, they just played well and took us out of our game a little bit. We didn’t make the adjustment. At the end of the day, it’s a win and we found a way.”

Garrett noted one change is that his team made opportunities to score unlike in the previous game.

“We didn’t shoot the ball the last time we played Mattoon,” he said. “We didn’t have a shot. We had chances at goal. A couple of legitimate chances. Now they had more chances than we did and they capitalized a couples time. But, still, it was better soccer. We have so many girls that are new to the game and it’s been fun to watch them come along. We played harder coming out of the gate. The last time we looked like deer in headlights for the first 20 minutes. This is a loss we can be relatively pleased with.”

Charleston’s Isabella Kieffer collides with Mattoon’s Faith Niebrugge after stopping a shot. (Photo/Chet Piotrowski)

Garrett would like to see the team possess the ball correctly more in the midfield moving forward.

“If we possess the ball correctly in the midfield, then that’s how we’re going to generate goals,” he said. “Right now, we’re just anemic on goals. We possess the ball correctly in the midfield, we can have attack and have chances.”

Ghere, whose team jumped on Charleston early in their previous match, said they can fix some of their mistakes with practice – something they haven’t had a chance to do since Friday.

“I think it’s one of those nights where we took a lot of shots, but we just didn’t hit the frame,” he said. “The good thing is the things that we didn’t do very well we can fix. All those are fixable. We didn’t get practice yesterday.We haven’t practiced since Friday. We’ll get a good one in tomorrow and head to Lincoln and get right back on track.”

Mattoon moves to 10-3, 5-2 in the Apollo Conference while Charleston falls to 4-6-3 and 1-5-1.

Photos above by Chet Piotrowski

Photos above by Ron Ghere