After a 1-1 draw Saturday at St. Anthony that extended the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team’s unbeaten streak to seven games and two calendar weeks, the orange and black traveled to Roxana Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 10, to open their 2019 SCC Conference slate against the host Shells.
With this year’s conference title completely up for grabs in terms of parity amongst the South Central schools, every single game is a must win if a team wants a chance to put a date on a banner in their gym. When the dust settled on Tuesday, it would be the visitors who took that all important first step towards a conference crown as Hillsboro scored early and often to down Roxana 5-0.
Early was an understatement in terms of the scoring as the Toppers controlled the opening kick-off and sophomore forward Ethan Lentz dropped the ball back to senior midfielder Joe Mattson. Mattson would control the ball at midfield and find freshman mid Will Christian up the right side, who from there touched a perfect pass into the corner to Lentz.
Lentz would then find a streaking Mattson in front and the senior would bury the shot past the Roxana keeper just :40 after the opening whistle, stunning the Shells and giving Hillsboro the incredibly early 1-0 lead.
Off the good fortune, the Toppers would actually stall a little offensively as it took Hillsboro some time to get back into formation.
On the flip side, the Shells would actually ratchet themselves up offensively, forcing the Toppers to scramble a bit and keep Roxana honest.
When Hillsboro finally settled back down and got it rolling midway through the half, it was Lentz who would nearly put them back on the board in an exact role reversal from the opening tally. This time, he would be on the receiving end of a ball from Mattson, but the forward would get just underneath his shot and send the ball over and out of play.
With 6:17 left in the half, the Toppers finally got back on the board and got back in a big, big way as junior midfielder Frankie Passariello took a throw in just inside midfield and found Mattson with the pass.
Mattson, who drew the attention from the defense, would drop the ball back to a wide open Passariello and, from there, the junior would do the rest sending a perfect arching ball on frame that completely stopped the Shell keeper in his tracks and sailed it in up and over for the first varsity goal of his career and giving Hillsboro the 2-0 lead they took into the break.
When play resumed, the Toppers took yet another step on offense and, this time, the outmatched Roxana squad couldn’t keep up as the visitors poured on shot after shot beginning with a rocket ball from senior Dalton Greenwood, that forced the Shell keeper to make a diving save.
Greenwood’s near miss would light the wick for Hillsboro as they took a 2-0 lead and once again used the connection of Lentz and Mattson to their advantage, this time with Mattson playing a perfect cross to a waiting Lentz.
Lentz would redirect the ball perfectly with his head to extend the Topper lead to 3-0 and Mattson would pick up his second tally of the contest minutes later as he connected on a great second effort kept alive by Christian, who corralled his own corner kick and found Mattson all alone in front.
Sophomore spark plug Gavin Matoush would finish out the scoring for the Toppers with 18:41 left to put Hillsboro up 5-0 extending his scoring streak to two games and sealing the deal with a big statement win.
The Toppers return home for their first home game in fourteen days as they host the Greenville Comets this afternoon at the Sports Complex. Varsity action gets underway at 4:30 p.m. with JV to follow.
September 10 at Roxana
Hillsboro 2 3 - 5
Roxana 0 0 - 0
Scoring: Hillsboro - Joe Mattson (Ethan Lentz), Frankie Passariello (Joe Mattson), Ethan Lfentz (Joe Mattson), Joe Mattson (Will Christian), Gavin Matoush (unassisted).
Record: Hillsboro (6-1-2).