Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski
Building on the momentum from Monday’s 1-0 victory over Mt. Zion, Mattoon’s Quincy Hamilton and Jared Ruiz had five points apiece in an 11-0 senior night win over Effingham Tuesday, ramping up to what will be an important weekend for the Green Wave.
“We did a nice job knocking the ball around,” Mattoon head coach Ryan Ghere said. “We worked on possession a bit, and some slow build up. We put the ball a lot in the net. I thought we played well. We passed the ball around and a lot of different guys scored for us. It’s always good to get a conference win.”
For much of the first half, Effingham had no defense for Jace Gardner who brought the ball up on the wing and centered it in front of the goal for his forwards, notably Quincy Hamilton.
“That’s how we like to play and sending balls across,” Ghere said. “We just have to do a better job of headers. We don’t do a very good job of that. 11 goals. We still had several chances and didn’t take advantage of, especially on headers in front of the net.”
“Our older guys got to play 40 minutes tonight since it was senior night,” Ghere said. “It was a good night. I thought everyone played well defensively. It was a good night to end our regular season at home.”
Ghere said his five seniors have meant a lot to the program.
“Five guys that have worked hard for us,” he said. “They’ve come along and gotten better. All five of them started in the spring for us, but to come back and be good leaders and be good examples for these younger guys. I don’t know how many wins they have in their four years of high school but it’s a bunch.”
Ghere went on about each of them.
“Quincy has turned himself into a great goal scorer after playing midfield for us last year,” he said. “Mick and Jackson have been solid defensively in the back for us. Trent, there aren’t a lot of players on the right side that are as good as he is on the flank. He’s quick. Jared’s our rock in the middle. He’s been there for us as a three year starter. He played defense for a couple years and moved up to midfield this year. I can’t say enough about them. They’ve molded into different roles over the years and done everything the team has needed them to do.”
Ghere’s squad had posted a big win Monday with a 1-0 victory at Mt. Zion.
“Yesterday was big one,” Ghere said. “We tied them 4-4 a week ago and nobody really played any defense. Then yesterday, it was one goal. Defense played really well, and Jason (Skocy) was great in goal – and his four defenders in front of him didn’t give him many chances.”
Ghere was especially pleased with the win because it could directly impact the regional seeding.
“Quincy had a nice pass to Trent for the finish before halftime and the lead,” he said. “It was a big win, a big conference win. It put us in third place by ourselves and momentum going into (postseason) seeding tomorrow.”
The Green Wave (8-3-1, 4-2-1 in the Apollo) host their 20th Annual Soccer Tournament on Friday and Saturday with heavy hitters Newton and Lincoln along with Olney. It should provide a opportunity for the boys to get it in gear for the postseason.
“It’s a good primer for the postseason,” he said. “Newton comes in Friday and they’re 13-1. Lincoln is undefeated and we have them on Saturday. And then Olney. Olney always plays hard and it’ll be our third time playing them this year. It’ll be good weekend. We’re going to have to throw a lot of bodies out there because of a lot of games. We’ll see where we’re at having something competitive before the postseason.”
35:58 Jace Gardner 1(Quincy Hamilton 1)
31:55 Quincy Hamilton 1(Jared Ruiz 1)
28:46 Trent Hettinger 1(Hamilton 2)
23:01 Hamilton 2 (Ruiz 2)
19:26 Hettinger 2 (Andy Karpus 1)
10:19 Ruiz 1 (Hamilton 3)
9:32 Ruiz (Jackson Whalin 1)
1:24 Mick Porter (Ruiz 3)
11:37 Mitchell (Evan Chaney)
5:09 Evan Chaney 1(Mason Holland 1)
2:46 Colton (Karson)