After an offensive explosion the game before where the Toppers downed the Pana Panthers 5-0 at the Sports Complex on the back of senior midfielder Joe Mattson’s first career hat trick, the orange and black travelled to Piasa on Thursday, Oct. 3, looking to continue an unbeaten streak in conference play, a streak that stood at a perfect 7-0 on the season.
Once things got started for Hillsboro they got started quick as five goals in the first nine minutes set the tone and the Toppers would stay SCC perfect picking up the 8-0 victory.
The visitors would very nearly score just seconds into the contest as a free kick from senior Josh Bauman ended up causing a flurry of activity in front of the Southwestern net. The activity wouldn’t result in anything in terms of scoring but it showed the Birds, who were celebrating senior night, we’re going to be put on notice.
That notice would come a minute later as sophomore forward Ethan Lentz controlled an attempted clear by Piasa and worked the ball inside the Southwestern 18 yard box. Drawing all of the attention from the Piasa blackline, the sophomore was able to touch off a perfect diagonal ball to freshman mid Will Christian who, when all the SW defenders focused on what Lentz was doing, was left all alone on the right side.
From there, Christian would place a perfect looping ball up and over the Piasa keeper, picking up his second goal of the season and putting the Toppers up 1-0.
Hillsboro wouldn’t have to wait long to add to their lead as, just 1:30 later, sophomore Gavin Matoush, who took a perfect lead pass from Mattson at midfield, used his speed to create some separation and quickly found himself bearing down on the SW net.
Once again, the Birds would focus on the man with the ball and not who was streaking along side and this time Matoush would touch off to Lentz, who would bury the shot to put the Toppers up 2-0.
After a big save by Hillsboro keeper Shaw Riggs at the other end resulted in a Topper breakaway up the left side, Matoush would find himself alone with the ball again and this time, taking matters into his own hands, found the back of the net to put Hillsboro up 3-0 just 5:15 into the tilt before adding his second goal in 1:15 as he once again would find himself on a breakaway, this time chipping the ball up to himself with an absolutely amazing display of focus and heading it past the sprawling Piasa keeper to put Hillsboro up 4-0 at the 6:30 mark of the half.
The Toppers would continue the attack, this time stringing passes together from the backfield and working their way up as Lentz, cheating back on defense, controlled the ball just past midfield and found senior Ian Roach up the right side. From there, Roach would chip the ball up to Bauman, who made good on the attempt to finish the rally, putting Hillsboro up 5-0 with 31:30 left in the half.
The Toppers would cool off in the middle minutes of the half until Lentz, taking the lead pass from Mattson, would pick up his second of the half as he cut through the Piasa backline all on his own and beat the SW keeper to the low left side to extend the Hillsboro lead to 6-0.
The Toppers would have even more chances down the stretch in the half as Matoush, looking to complete the hat trick, would clang a shot off the post and Christian would send one over the crossbar in the final minutes, but the visitors couldn’t make anymore happen and they headed into the break very much in the drivers seat.
When play resumed in the second, Hillsboro very nearly added to their lead twice in the first 1:20 of the half as both Lentz and Mattson had good looks on net only to push their shots just wide. But Mattson would make up for his near miss two minutes later and he found the back of the net for his second of the contest putting the Toppers up 7-0 and cutting the remaining time in half as the mercy rule took effect.
Hillsboro would weather a close call with 8:57 as junior Frankie Passariello was whistled for a hand ball in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for the Birds, but Riggs proved up to the challenge with a perfect stand-up save to kill the SW attempt and make his first career penalty kick save on his first ever penalty kick attempt.
At the other end, Passariello would atone for the miscue as he’d finish off the scoring for the Toppers, picking up his second goal in as many games, putting Hillsboro up 8-0 and that’s how it would stay as the Toppers improved to a perfect 8-0 in conference play and clinched at least a share of the SCC title with one more conference game to play.
The Toppers begin a busy final week of the regular season this afternoon as they head to Mater Dei for a game against the Knights with a JV contest first and the varsity game to follow. From there, the orange and black will finish out their week at home first with senior night on Tuesday where the Toppers will honor their 11 seniors in a pregame ceremony before their game against the Staunton Bulldogs and then finish out the slate with a Wednesday afternoon game against EAWR. Both home games begin at 4:30 p.m. The Toppers invite everyone out on Tuesday to honor their special group of seniors for a “pack the place” event, beginning with player and parent introductions at 4:25 p.m.
October 3 at Piasa
Hillsboro 6 2 - 8
Southwestern 0 0 - 0
Scoring: Hillsboro - Ethan Lentz 2, Gavin Matoush 2, Will Christian 1, Josh Bauman 1, Joe Mattson 1, Frankie Passariello 1.
Record: Hillsboro (13-2-2, 8-0).