By Dillan Schorfheide

The Charleston High School boys soccer team weren’t able to claim the top spot in the Red and Gold tournament, but the Trojans still finished 2-2 against solid competition to begin the season.

The Trojans split their two games Saturday.

In the morning, CHS defeated Effingham 4-1, putting itself in a spot to play for the first-place trophy against Olney.

Despite losing to Mattoon earlier in the day, Olney came out and defeated Charleston 2-1 to leave them in third place.

The outcome wasn’t what the Trojans hoped for, but head coach Zach Stranz said he was proud of how his team performed in its first four games.

“It was a great start to the season. We kind of got to see everything we have,” Stranz said.

CHS’s Alex Dow blocks two shots in the first half against Olney on Saturday afternoon.

Olney opened the game in control, putting early pressure on Charleston.

For most of the first half, Olney was in control – creating chances in the attacking third and keeping Charleston’s shots to a minimum.

In the first quarter of the game, though, Charleston goalkeeper Alex Dow stood tall and stopped some tough shots.

“I’m so proud of him,” Stranz said. “He’s just seeing the ball; it’s like the ball’s a beach ball to him right now.”

Olney was able to score first, though. Just over 16 minutes into the game, the Tigers scored off a deflection to go up 1-0.

Charleston started putting pressure on Olney’s defense in the second half.

But Olney still scored a second goal to go ahead 2-0.

The Trojans answered shortly after. Kyle Ross threw the ball in on Olney’s half of the field. Off the throw, Wesley Paul headed the ball to Jay Buchter, who was near the box. Buchter controlled the ball, beat a defender and placed the ball past the goalkeeper for Charleston’s goal.

Overall, Stranz liked what he saw from his team.

There are areas he thinks the team could improve on, like finishing around the net.

But going 2-2 in the tournament was a good starting point for the season, he said.