By Will Simmons

Charleston’s created chances, but the Trojans ultimately could not finish in a 4-0 loss to Champaign Central during their first home match Monday evening.

Charleston (1-3) had an opportunity to get on the board midway through the first half when midfielder Logan Webster set a ball in the path of charging striker, Ella Garrett, on a counter attack. Garrett connected and rocketed the ball from the top of the penalty area towards the right corner, where it skimmed off the post.

Garrett said they probably need to work on bringing the ball down the wings instead of attacking straight-on, but she has noticed improvement each game.

“We had a lot of shots, our offense was really good,” Garrett said. “I think it’s just that we got stuck on the back a little bit, but, I mean, we made it work. We tried our best, and we did get a lot of offensive chances.”

Charleston was able to persevere after Central (1-0) scored twice within the first five minutes of the match. Central’s Sophia Adams found the pass behind the Trojans’ defensive line – on a play that CHS thought had been offsides – and took the ball 20 yards into the area, where she sunk it in the right corner before goalie Ally Logsdon could snag it. 

 “We kind of took it too personally, and that kind of stayed with our heads as we tried to move on,” Garrett said. “And it kind of made us less confident, but we just tried to think that, hey, let’s just try our best even if (the referees) not gonna call it.”

The second Maroons goal came after a throw-in near the left corner of Central’s attacking half. Central’s Grace Pelz pushed the ball up to the goal where Lainey Somers rolled it in.  

Central’s third and fourth unanswered-goals came from midfielder Claudia Larrison. Right before the half, she blasted a ball from outside of the area, through traffic to the opposite back, left corner of the net. In the second, Larrison punted the ball from equally far away on the left-post side, floating it over the Trojans goalkeeper for the match’s final goal. 

The game was a physical challenge. Garrett got a ball kicked point-blank to her face, which she played through after, she said, her “face was a little numb.” Junior Shelby Harrington, meanwhile, forced a smile while being helped off the field during an injury timeout, after she had taken a cleat to her shin in a midfield collision.

Harrington used the injury timeout to motivate her team with 15 minutes left in the match. She said the team was definitely feeling the extra 20 minutes of the home-opener, compared with the shorter matches at last week’s St. Teresa tournament.

“I know our main goal this coming week, because we have no games until Saturday, is just to work on fitness – and first touches, especially,” Harrington said. “Just finding the groove.”