After taking care of the Roxana Shells Tuesday afternoon on the road by a score of 5-0, the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team returned to the Hillsboro Sports Complex for their first home match since an August 28 drubbing of the Taylorville Tornadoes, a game they dominated from beginning to end to pick up an 8-0 victory.
For the orange and black, it had been four trips to Carlinville, a trip to Effingham and then the aforementioned trip to Roxana since they had stepped foot onto their home pitch, but the road had been kind in terms of success for the Toppers as they went unbeaten in five games at the Carlinville Classic, bringing home third place honors. Follow that up with a 2-2 draw against the St. Anthony Bulldogs and then the 5-0 victory against the Shells and it would easy to say Hillsboro wouldn’t mind staying gone if it meant more success.
Fortunately for the Toppers, the grass would be just as green at home as the squad scored three first half goals and battened the hatches on defense to down the Greenville Comets 3-0 on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Hillsboro would waste little time in getting the offense started as senior Joe Mattson controlled the ball at midfield and found fellow senior Wes Stockstill up the left side. Stockstill would put the shot on, forcing Comet keeper Brock Kenny to make a sprawling save.
Kenny had trouble controlling the rebound and the ball would bounce loose in front of the Comet goal allowing Hillsboro another attempt, but senior midfielder Josh Bauman would knock the second attack just wide to end the drive.
Mattson would send another ball just wide one minute later, but the home team would finally be rewarded for their efforts at the eight minute mark of the first as Mattson once again found Stockstill up the middle.
From there, Stockstill was off to the races creating some space between himself and the defense and finding himself all alone with just Kenny to beat. Kenny was up to the challenge on Stockstill’s initial shot, but the Topper midfielder would gather his own rebound and put the shot back on to pick up his second goal of the season and give Hillsboro the 1-0 lead.
Mattson would get into the act himself and double the lead just one minute later as the sophomore forward lined up for a Topper corner kick and placed a perfect ball in front which Mattson redirected with his head and right past the outstretched hands of the Greenville netminder, padding the Topper lead.
Hillsboro would add their third goal just one minute after that as once again Ethan Lentz would connect with a perfect corner kick, this time onto the waiting foot of Bauman. Bauman would pound the shot past Kenny for the third Topper goal in as many minutes to extend the lead to 3-0 just ten minutes in.
The flood gates opening for the home team seemed to wake up the Comets as they tightened up in the middle of the field and got much more physical with the Toppers. Hillsboro would adjust to the style of play by spreading the field a little more wide and trying to work the ball around with passing instead of making runs.
This spread style would nearly allow them to add to their lead just past halfway in the first as sophomore mid Kennon Beecher found himself on a breakaway of his own. Beecher would play the ball just a little too far in front of himself and the Comet backliners would clear the attempt and end the attack, but the Toppers, once again were knocking on the door.
Hillsboro would have two more attempts late in the half, first as Bauman used his speed to break in all alone, but he would shoot just over and out of play, followed by Mattson with an attempt in the final minute that Kenny gathered and sent back up the other way.
When play resumed in the second, the Toppers continued their attacks on the Greenville net, first with Stockstill shooting just wide four minutes in and Bauman following it up with a shot of his own into Kenny’s hands.
Sophomore defender Devin Speiser would take a free kick from deep that nearly found its way into the back of the net and Bauman would hit a post on the following shot, but from there, the Toppers never could add to their lead.
On the flip side, Hillsboro keeper junior Shaw Riggs would keep his strong effort between the pipes alive turning away every one of the Comet attacks and picking up his second straight shutout as the Toppers held on for the 3-0 win.
With the victory, Hillsboro improves to 7-1-2 on the season and stretch their unbeaten streak to nine straight games. In addition, they improve to an all important 2-0 in SCC play. The Toppers are idle today before traveling to Litchfield Tuesday for a showdown with the Gillespie Miners, with varsity action starting at 4:30 p.m. There will be no JV game Tuesday.
September 12 at Hillsboro
Greenville 0 0 - 0
Hillsboro 3 0 - 3
Scoring: Hillsboro - Wes Stockstill (unassisted), Joe Mattson (Ethan Lentz), Josh Bauman (Ethan Lentz). Goalkeeper: Hillsboro - Shaw Riggs.
Record: Hillsboro (7-1-2, 2-0).