After a disappointing loss to the Riverton/Tri-City Hawknadoes Saturday morning that ended a 13 game unbeaten streak as well as marked the first time this season the Toppers were held scoreless in a contest all season, the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team returned to action Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 1, at the Hillsboro Sports Complex as they hosted SCC foe the Pana Panthers.
With conference supremacy still on the line for the orange and black, as well as a bit of redemption for the blanking suffered at the hands of Riverton, the Toppers would get back on the board and back on track as three goals in the first half and two more in the second would down the Panthers 5-0 and keep the Toppers a perfect 7-0 in conference play with just two SCC games left to play.
From the opening whistle, it was obvious that Hillsboro was the stronger squad offensively as the Toppers wasted no time in charging the ball downfield and testing both the Pana defense as well as the Panther netminder.
Senior midfielder Josh Bauman would get the attack started for the hosts as, just 30 seconds into the first half, he would take a lead pass from fellow senior Ian Roach and rip a shot on frame. Bauman’s shot would sail just over and the midfielder would follow it up with two more shots just wide on the next two possessions, but the near misses would put Pana on notice that Hillsboro meant business.
Even with the attacks raining down on the Panther net, the Toppers would have to wait until just past the midway point of the first before they’d finally break through. Fittingly enough, it’d be Bauman who would finally put Hillsboro on the board as the senior controlled an attempted Pana clear and worked his way up the middle of the field. Using a nice drop step to create some space, Bauman would put the shot on and beat the Pana keeper to the low left side to put the Toppers up 1-0.
Once the lid was finally ripped off the net with the first tally, others would come as Roach took a free kick from just inside midfield and junior midfielder Frankie Passariello, using a great physical play to get himself in position, was there for the finish picking up his second goal of the season and putting the Toppers up 2-0.
Then, with 5:30 left in the first half, sophomore Ethan Lentz would line up for a corner kick deep in the Panther end. Instead of sending the ball in on net, Lentz would connect with fellow sophomore Ayden Brewer sneaking up field from his defensive position. From there, Brewer would place a perfect cross ball on net to a waiting Joe Mattson, who headed the cross past the sprawling Pana keeper for the third goal of the half to put the Toppers up 3-0.
When play resumed in the second half, it didn’t take the Toppers nearly as much time as it did in the first half to score as, with just 2:17 gone in the half, Mattson would score again, this time on an absolutely incredible shot from just outside the 18 yard box that found the upper 90 to put Hillsboro up 4-0.
The senior would finish off the hat trick minutes later as he found the back of the net for a third time, putting the Toppers up 5-0. From there Hillsboro would coast to the 5-0 win.
The victory propelled Hillsboro all alone atop the conference standings with a perfect 7-0 record and would improve their overall record to a staunch 12-2-2 on the season. The Toppers travel to Piasa this afternoon, Oct. 3, for another conference showdown against the Piasa Birds with a varsity only tilt beginning at 4:30 p.m.
October 1 at Hillsboro
Pana 0 0 - 0
Hillsboro 3 2 - 5
Goals: Hillsboro - Joe Mattson 3, Josh Bauman 1, Frankie Passariello 1.
Record: Hillsboro (12-2-2, 7-0); Pana (7-9, 4-3).