By Mike Monahan

DECATUR – Faith Niebrugge extended her Mattoon High girls career scoring mark again Thursday evening.

Expect more of the same all season.

The senior, who blew away the previous record of 64 and entered this season with 78 goals, scored three more times to help Mattoon beat Pleasant Plains, 4-1.

GAME STORY: Click here to read.

That comes a few days after scoring twice against Mt. Zion in the team’s season opener so she now has 83 goals.

She will likely extend the mark in Saturday’s tourney title game – and should easily break 100, based upon her first three years of play. An All-Apollo first team and IHSSCA All-Sectional striker, the Parkland College recruit scored 43 goals and added 14 assists last season. 

Niebrugge said she was able to score thanks to more aggressive play from her teammates.

“I think it was finally getting those 50-50 balls in the middle and being able to control the midfield,” said Niebrugge. “Having girls that can play over the top really helps me get in front of those other girls and get those goals. I couldn’t do it without them.”

Niebrugge, who just missed getting a goal in the first five minutes, scored at the 17:56 to give Mattoon a lead, 1-0, it held for only 79 seconds.

The score tied at 1, Niebrugge scored in a familiar fashion – an assist from Lily Ghere. The combined for numerous goals last season. Ghere set a season assist record with 27 last year. 

“Oh, yes, she is very good with the middle and getting balls over the top,” Niebrugge said. “She is very versatile.”

Niebrugge’s last goal was her favorite one – a 30-yarder that bent right over the head of the Cardinals goal-keeper for the final goal of the day. 

“Faith had a heck of a game,” said Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere. “That fourth goal was all her. Nobody helped her at all. She took on four defenders and scored. That is one of the better games she has ever played. She has scored a lot of goals in her career, but this is probably one of her better games.”

Right now, Niebrugge is not focused on personal records.

“I just want to accomplish having a good (team) record and, hopefully, beating Mahomet-Seymour since we always play our best when we do play them,” she said. “I hope we get to that level this year.”