Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.

After starting out slow and and giving up an early goal to Charleston’s Ella Garrett in the first five minutes of the second match of the Mattoon regional, Mattoon stormed back to score eight unanswered goals in defeating the Trojans 8-1, sending the Greenwave to the regional championship match Friday evening.

“Coach Ghere talked about that (taking it wide) just with our speed being able to kick it up the line from our right and left mid,” junior Piper Sanders said. “He said if you dribble at Ally (Logsdon) and lay it off, it’s going to be wide open. That was true in the second half. So it worked out good.”

The Greenwave adjusted by bringing Sanders up front and sending sophomore Bella Masse back to the mid, which created numerous odd-man rushes Charleston’s defense was unable to adjust to.

“Give our girls credit,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said. “They held their composure and stayed with the game plan. We moved Piper up to forward and Bella back to center-mid, and I think that helped. That gave her lots of chances.”

Ghere said Sanders had been struggling lately and the team and coaching staff encouraged her to stay positive.

Mattoon faces Civic Memorial at home Friday for the regional championship at at 6 p.m.

“We kept saying ‘keep plugging away, it’ll come it’ll come,'” Ghere said. “And it did. She had a heck of game and put the ball in the net. Lily had a two nice direct kicks and a good chip over the keeper at the end. Defensively, I thought we played better after the first ten minutes. I thought we played better as the game went.”