By Kyle Daubs
Before the year, the question was if Mahomet-Seymour could go 20-0 in the Apollo? So far, the Bulldogs are on pace to accomplish that goal.
The returning Apollo Conference champions returned a phenomenal core of players, so the idea of the team going undefeated in the conference two straight years was a reality. At 3-0 in the Apollo, the Bulldogs are off to a great start, but head coach Jeremy Davis knows that Mattoon is going to bring a tough challenge.
“I’ve coached against Coach Ghere for several years now on the boys level and now the girls side,” said Davis. “His teams are always extremely well-coached and organized. They counter with a lot of urgencies and tend to be able to manufacture goals in tight games.”
Mattoon brings a 10-3 overall record against the undefeated Bulldogs (7-0). Mattoon has outscored opponents by a 67-14 margin.
Senior Faith Niebrugge has scored a team-high 28 goals and junior Lily Ghere has recorded 16 goals and a team-high 28 assists.
Playing at home will be an advantage for the Green Wave, but MHS coach Ryan Ghere said the team is going to need to play well to win.
Said Ghere: “We are going to have to be very solid on defense. We cannot let Koerner get free in space or have room to shoot from distance.”
Koerner, an All-State selection last season, is averaging 3.7 goals per game. She already owns 26 goals on the season and 15 assists. The second-highest scorer on the team is Brea Benson with seven goals and 11 assists.
In the team’s recent 7-0 victory over Lincoln, both Koerner and Benson hit major milestones. Koerner took over as the career goal scorer and assist leader in team history. Her 162 total goals and assists passed Meredith Johnson-Monfort’s all-time. Koerner owns 102 career goals and 60 career assists. As for Benson, she ranks third all-time and owns 43 career goals and 51 career assists.
“We are playing pretty well and have avoided injuries so far,” said Davis. “I’ve been pretty happy with how the girls are progressing. We have been able to succeed on all levels of the field. Each player has a role that makes us have the success we have had so far. Each of the goals we have scored has come from all 11 and our players off the field who make them better daily, not just one player.”
Last season, Mahomet-Seymour beat Mattoon 9-0 at home and then 12-1 on the road. Mattoon recently picked up a win over Taylorville to snap a three-game losing streak.
“They are a very good team and we will need to improve on how we played last weekend,” said Ghere. “We struggled to score against two good teams on Saturday. We are excited to play them. This will be a good test to see where we are at as a team.”