After 22 years and over 500 combined games, Ryan Ghere still gets those goosebumps for one particular game in the regular season.
The Coles County Clash soccer match with Charleston.
“I still do get excited for the rivalry game with Charleston,” said Ghere. “It is a special game for everyone involved.”
Mattoon will look to improve to over .500 in the Apollo Conference with their upcoming home matchup with Charleston. Mattoon owns a 6-3-1 record on the season with a 2-2-1 mark in the conference.
After dropping consecutive 1-0 losses to Lincoln and Mahomet-Seymour, Mattoon bounced back with a 9-3 win over Taylorville and tied Mount Zion 4-4. Ghere is hopeful the team can possess the ball more efficiently against the Trojans.”
“To be successful, we need to do a better job of possessing the ball,” said Ghere. “We have been working on making better passes and giving ourselves better-scoring chances. I think we have gotten better each of our last four games.”
Charleston will look to keep Mattoon out of the net. The Trojans have struggled in that department all year. The team has been outscored 42-10 on the season.
“In order to win we need to stay locked in on defense,” said Charleston coach Zack Stranz. “When we’re communicating and staying as a unit we’ve been successful this year. Our midfield has been really solid the last few games, when we can rely on the midfield the whole team clicks.”
Currently, Charleston sits 2-7 and 1-3 in the conference. The group of predominantly underclassman owns wins over Effingham and Taylorville this season but has been outscored by Mount Zion, Mahomet-Seymour, and Lincoln 23-0.
“I’m trying to get the team to believe we can compete with any team as long as we play the right way,” said Charleston coach Zack Stranz. “When we’ve played the tougher teams we forget what we’ve been working on and play trying to “catch up” rather than playing our style of soccer. Being a team of mostly underclassmen, I’m trying to build their confidence by helping them feel prepared and ready.”
Stranz remembers his playing days of playing against Mattoon. He is hopeful that a rivalry match will help motivate the team.
“I think being from Charleston, there’s not much I need to do to hype up the team,” said Stranz. “Mattoon is always the team to beat. I think they’ve gotten the best of us the last few years so it would be nice to start turning that around. We’re a very young team so I’m just excited seeing the growth and camaraderie we gain with each game.”