There are lots of ways to accomplish a goal one sets for themselves: hard work, dedication, stay the course, etc. Sometimes it only takes one of these ways, sometimes two, and sometimes it takes all three, plus some other ways not mentioned.
That was definitely the case for the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 24, as their goal of keeping a winning streak alive, their goal of staying undefeated both in conference and on their home pitch, and their goal of continuing to improve on possessing the ball very nearly took a big hit as the Carlinville Cavaliers came to town looking for redemption for a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the orange and black back in the Carlinville Kickoff Classic.
The Cavies would strike first, the Toppers would answer back and it would take all 80 minutes of regulation plus 20 minutes of overtime to decide, but when the dust settled it would be all goals accomplished for the home team as a Josh Bauman goal 3:30 into the second OT period propelled Hillsboro to a 2-1 victory.
Things would begin and end in a flurry for both teams, starting with the opening kickoff that the visitors took down the middle of the field and tested the Hillsboro backline and junior keeper Shaw Riggs almost immediately.
After the wake-up call, the Toppers would settle in and get offense of their own going, very nearly scoring just eight minutes into the tilt as a Hillsboro corner kick deep in the Carlinville zone nearly found the back of the net.
Senior Ian Roach would follow up the near miss with a shot just over the crossbar on the ensuing Topper possession and Hillsboro would round out the attack as Bauman would put a hard shot on frame that Cavie keeper Brock Goodman was able to corral and send back up the other way.
It would be like that for most of the first half as both teams would ebb and flow, stringing good possessions together with neither having anything to show for their efforts.
Then, with nine minutes left in the half, the Toppers would have their best chance to get on the board as Carlinville was whistled for a foul just past midfield, awarding Hillsboro the free kick. Bauman would be called upon for the shot and his shot was well placed but, once again, Goodman was there for the save, ending the drive.
With 7:30 left in the first, senior Joe Mattson, after gaining possession at midfield and working his way through the Carlinville backline, would find himself all alone in front only to have Goodman stymie the attack again.
Then, as the minutes began to wind down, the Cavies would turn the hard work of their goalkeeper into some good fortune of their own in the form of a goal by sophomore Levi Yudinsky with 5:30 left in the half, putting Carlinville up 1-0.
Senior Dalton Greenwood would nearly make things even on the very next possession, but his shot would sail just over the crossbar and out of play as neither side would muster anymore offense before the break.
When play resumed in the second, the Toppers came out firing and none more than Mattson, who took matters into his own hands after receiving a perfect lead ball from Bauman. Mattson would turn on the afterburners and rocket up the right side, beating every Cavie in his path then touching a perfect ball past the outstretched hands of Goodman to knot things up at 1-1 just 1:20 into the half.
The Toppers would nearly add another just seconds later as a Hillsboro corner kick squirted all the way through the box after Goodman failed to get a handle, but the miscue would surprise the Topper offense and they couldn’t get a touch on the ball before it ended up rolling away.
Hillsboro would keep up the attack however as they were a different team after Mattson’s tally. The Cavies seemed to only be along for the ride as the Toppers worked the ball around and through the Carlinville midfield to manufacture look after look on the Cavalier net. As before though, Goodman was up to the challenge every time, single handily keeping Hillsboro honest.
With one minute left and darkness approaching, the Toppers would nearly end it in regulation as Greenwood, who had been a force down the stretch, ripped an absolute rocket on net. Goodman would be there on the doorstep though to preserve the tie and the teams would go into OT.
Conference rules call for two ten minute overtime periods to be played all the way through before any game can be decided, and the first extra frame was all Hillsboro offensively, including a hit goal post by sophomore standout Gavin Matoush, but all Cavies defensively, and the score would remain 1-1 going into the second OT period.
When play resumed in the second extra time session, the Toppers would finally break through as, with 6:30 left in the second OT, Bauman would put the squad on his shoulders and find the back of the net for the go ahead goal. The Cavies would mount an attack but would never be able to do anymore than that and Hillsboro would buckle down in their defensive zone to preserve their lead, as they improved to a perfect 6-0 in conference play and stretched their unbeaten streak to 13 games.
The Toppers will look to continue their good fortune as they host powerhouse Riverton Saturday morning, Sept. 28, with varsity action starting at 10 a.m.
September 24 at Hillsboro
Carlinville 1 0 0 0 1
Hillsboro 0 1 0 1 2
Scoring: Hillsboro - Joe Mattson 1, Josh Bauman 1; Carlinville - Levi Yudinsky 1. Goalkeepers: Hillsboro - Shaw Riggs; Carlinville - Brock Goodman.
Records: Hillsboro (11-1-2, 6-0); Carlinville (2-11-1, 1-4).