By Will Simmons
Mattoon scored five goals in the first 14 minutes, more than enough to solidify a 6-2 win on rival Charleston’s muddy home turf Tuesday afternoon in girls soccer action at Paul Stranz Field.
Lily Ghere scored four goals for the Green Wave, who were on the attack for most the match – four of those coming from set pieces and penalty kicks.
Ghere rolled her first goal into the net four minutes in the game and, two minutes later, took a pass on the left side from sophomore Piper Sanders. Ghere dribbled from outside the left edge of the goal box to a position facing the space between a centered goalie and the left post where she guided the ball between the two.
Mattoon went on to score twice on set pieces over the next seven minutes.
Senior Faith Niebrugge drilled a free kick into the net’s left crease to make it 3-0.
Ghere then scored on a free kick outside of the penalty box’s right corner, a rainbow of a shot that floated over defenders and teammates into the opposite back corner of the net to make it 5-0.
“I’ve been practicing because I’m not really known to kick them in,” Ghere said. “Usually, they go over or wide, or threaten to the wall that they put in front of me. So I’ve been practicing, and I guess it paid off.”
In between the set pieces, Mattoon defender Taylor Kovach punted a ball, while in motion, that eventually squeezed between the crossbar and goalkeeper’s outreached hands, clanging off the metal junction of the goal’s right corner.
Ghere then sent a penalty kick just to the right of the goalie to make the score 6-1 at the end of the half.
Charleston’s Ella Garrett scored to make it 5-1 with about nine minutes left in the first half. On a slow-paced ball heading towards the goal line where Mattoon’s goalie whiffed on the passing ball near the goal box. Garrett, who never stopped running toward goal, altered the ball’s path to land inside of the right post.
Garrett’s second goal came late in the second half when teammate Mia Hinds kicked the ball to the penalty box’s edge. Garrett beat Mattoon’s defenders and scored while in front of the goal box.
“I felt like it was under a lot of pressure because I was trying to get ahead to make sure that no one’s, like, right on my back, and it felt really good,” she said.
Sophomore Ally Logsdon’s made several stops in the second half.
“Their goalie had a nice game,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said. “She was very aggressive and she came out on some breakaways and took some shots away from us, so give them credit.”