Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Mattoon’s Piper Sanders, who had missed a few games to injury, made up for lost time against Charleston on Friday evening.
The junior posted a hat trick, scoring the first of three goals two minutes into the match to lead Mattoon past Charleston, 6-0.
“It feels pretty good,” Sanders said. “I’m glad to be back. I owe the first one to my teammate Lily Ghere. She puts them on a platter for me. I couldn’t score as many as I do if it wasn’t for my teammates. They covered for me while I was gone, so it was nice to be back in my position again.”
Sanders took advantage of senior Lily Ghere’s corner kick landing just over the head of Charleston goalkeeper Ally Logsdon and dropping at Sanders’ feet two minutes into the match.
“I was running back post, and I saw it coming in over Ally’s head,” she said. “I just hit it off my stomach. It was just kind of right person, right time.”
Sanders bumped the ball firmly into the back of the net and raced out of the goalie box around the scrum of players and jumped into Ghere’s outstretched arms in celebration.
Her second goal was a model of finesse – beating one defender down the right side and outmaneuvering Logsdon to score. She said she didn’t see anyone open so she decided to shoot it.
“I thought I could beat the defender there,” she said. “I had it on my left foot and thought ‘I might as well shoot it.'”
Sanders blistered it into the near side just between Logsdon and the post, making it 4-0.
“Of course!” she said laughing. “I was hoping it would.”
Sanders’ third goal wasn’t finessed at all, but rather showed her toughness in dealing with bigger opponents.
Ghere centered the ball from the far corner right to Sanders 5 yards in front of Logsdon. Logsdon converged on her, but it was too late as she put the ball around the goalkeeper’s right hip, tumbling into the Greenwave player.
“I didn’t see it go in,” she said. “Ally took me out.”
Her teammates raced toward her afterwards, showering praise.
It was a fitting last goal for her.
“I think Ally is pretty good goalie and you have to keep your composure,” she said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime. I think we executed that in the second half.”
“We really didn’t come out in the second half with the energy we were supposed to have,” Logsdon said. “They had more energy, they wanted the game. They would split through our defense very easily, and that’s something they’re good at as a team.”
Logsdon said the opening first minute salvo at Mattoon showed the “team’s true potential.” Ultimately, though, CHS lacked energy and commitment, she said.
“I think we need to keep calm and keep our composure a little bit better when they start to score,” Logsdon said.
Sanders said it was important to score first and not allow Charleston to jump on them like what happened previously.
“It was really important, especially since we’re on grass,” she said. “I think we had to prove a point making it 6-0. Our defense has practiced being more physical especially with playing teams not in our area(who are more physical). Anytime you play Charleston it’s going to be.”
Mattoon Piper Sanders 1 (Lily Ghere 1) 2:00
Mattoon Lily Ghere 1 (Lily Gregory 1) 36:00
Sanders 2(Gerkin 1)50:00
Reese Updegraff 1(Ghere 2) 52:00
Sanders 3 (unassisted) 75:00
Ghere 2 (unassisted) 88:00