Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Mattoon (3-4-1) had everything going its way against Teutopolis (6-0-1) in its boys soccer game Monday evening.
The Green Wave took a 1-0 lead on sustained pressure and phenomenal defense.
But then MHS gave up two goals losing to the Wooden Shoes 2-1 on Monday evening.
“We talked about it at halftime,” Mattoon varsity soccer coach Ryan Ghere said. “Don’t foul close to the box and don’t give up set pieces. We fouled them outside the box and gave them a set piece. The whole momentum shifts. We have a throw-in with a chance to score and then they go 95 yards and get a goal on our end. We’re finding ways to lose right now. You know, we have to find a way to turn this ship around and headed into the right direction. Right now, we’re just finding ways to lose.”
Mattoon’s Keegan Shaw started the Green Wave pressure with a shot on goal from 20 yards out just eight minutes into game. Six minutes later, Jason Skocy took a shot within the penalty box that was secured by Teutopolis goalkeeper Jackson Kinkelaar.
Teutopolis countered with a shot from the right of Mattoon goalkeeper Camden Jordan that was easily corraled.
Less than a minute later, the Green Wave were awarded a direct kick just inside the midfield line that floated down in front of Kinkelaar for an easy save.
Mattoon’s Jace Gardner took a pass feet from the goalpost and headed it wide across the mouth of the goal to a waiting Karson Rice just outside the far goalpost who then headed it out of bounds.
Five minutes later with 12 minutes left in the half, Rice and Gardner would make it count. Rice took a pass from Gardner that went under the outstretched arms Kinkelaar and buried it in the back of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
“We played well the first half,” Ghere said. “We played defense and gave ourselves some chances to score. We played hard and put the ball in the corners and got crosses in. We defended and possessed the ball.”
Teutopolis coach Aaron Wendt was not pleased with his team’s first-half performance.
“We came out a little flat, but Mattoon is a good a team,” Wendy said. “If you come out flat against them, they’re going to punish you. They did.”
Then it all changed.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, the Wooden Shoes scored the equalizer off a set piece on a corner kick that Teutopolis’ Gavin Tegeler put into the upper left corner.
Teutopolis took the lead after a near Mattoon goal, after the Green Wave had headed into Kinkelaar’s chest. The Teutopolis’ goalkeeper, subsequently, kicked it out. A long pass over the Mattoon midfield enabled Teutopolis forward Ethan Runde to put the ball behind Jordan for a 2-1 lead.
“We just calmed down more,” Wendt said. “We found some space in behind where our forwards could get into that space. There was a lot more communication (in the second half) and kept their playmakers off the ball. Space was restricted for them. Offensively, when the space opened, we played it quickly there and moved it downfield quickly in transition.”
The Green Wave averaging only 1.5 goals a game through eight games.
“Right now, our margin of victory is so small (that) if we make a mistake and give up a goal and the ball bounces around in front of our goal, we just don’t have anyone finishing to give us goals,” he said.
Ghere hopes that his Green Wave can notch their first home win Tuesday (today) against Effingham and get some momentum going.
“Hopefully, we do it against Effingham tomorrow who we’ve already beat 3-0,” he said. “We have to play better and pass the ball. We have to get our first win at home. We haven’t won there either. You know we’ve had lead in the last three of four games and haven’t had a win. We’re talented enough to do it. We just have make some changes and put the ball in the net.”
1st half – Mattoon Karson Rice 1, ( Jace Gardner, assist) 13:00
2nd half – Teutopolis Gavin Tegeler 1, (unassisted)28:00; Nolan Runde 1, (Ethan Thoele, assist)14:00.