Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski
Mattoon soccer took its high octane offense to Effingham, opening up its Apollo Conference schedule with an 8-0 victory over the Hearts and improving to 5-1 on the season.
Effingham relied on solid team defense in the box trying to clog Mattoon’s passing lanes. The Green Wave mustered three goals in the first half.
“I wasn’t real happy with the first half of play,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said. “It wasn’t very pretty.”
Evan Chaney got the Green Wave on the board five minutes into the match, giving Mattoon a 1-0 lead.
Ghere made a teamwide substitution with 15 minutes to go in the first half.
“We brought some guys off the bench and they did a nice job,” he said. “They had nine guys in the box the whole game and we lacked creativity in the final third and didn’t give ourselves many good shots in the first half.”
The Green Wave controlled possession of the ball for the next 25 minutes, but the Hearts’ defenders attacked Mattoon’s offense with numbers until Quentin Wright scored on a penalty kick and Miles Clapp used his body to pocket a goal within two minutes of each other before the end of the first half.
Effingham had few opportunities in the match, but tested Mattoon goalie Jordan Haugh with 17 minutes to play when Jackson Doedtman made a long outlet pass to Gerard Herrera, who went 30 yards with a Mattoon defender on his outside shoulder. Herrara blasted a shot on Haugh, who deflected it up and over the goal.
That would be the last opportunity the Green Wave gave Effingham as Mattoon went on offensive scoring spree by netting five goals in the last 16 minutes, capped by a one-timer from past Hearts goalie Brandon Duncan, his second of the match, and Jared Ruiz’ blast at 38:20 that Duncan couldn’t handle.
“In the second half, we figured it out especially in the last twenty minutes,” Ghere said. “I think we wore them down a bit.”
Last season’s netminder, Jason Skocy, was moved to the field in favor of sophomores Camden Jordan and Jordan Haugh. Ghere said the move makes the team better.
“We’ll take the win,” he said. “Defensively, I thought we played really well. (Camden and) Jordan had some nice saves, especially in the second half. We’re still figuring some things out offensively. It took us about 60 minutes to figure it out.”
Ghere said the team needs to be more creative against teams that are going to play them hard defensively like Effingham.
“We have to play some more combination play, and I thought we did a much better job of taking people off the dribble.”
Mattoon next travels to Lincoln on Thursday.
Evan Chaney 1 (5:20)
Quentin Wright 1 PK (36:15)
Miles Clapp 1 (37:45)
Jason Skocy 1(24:47)
Quincy Hamilton 1(28:20), 2(31:50)
Evan Chaney 2(36:36)
Jared Ruiz 1(38:20)