It was time for a youth movement for Hillsboro soccer on Monday, May 3, as the Toppers defeated Pana 4-0 in a South Central Conference clash.
All four goals and both assists came from players who have yet to see their third year in high school, including three goals from freshman Kinley Richardson.
The Toppers battled against a strong wind in the opening half, but had their opportunities against the Pana defense. One of those chances came to fruition with 8:28 left to play in the first, when sophomore Sophia Hernandez put a ball into space in the Panthers’ end.
Richardson would break free and run down Hernandez’s pass, getting her left foot on a shot to break the scoreless tie.
Hillsboro looked to add to that lead in the second half, when they would have the wind at their back, but their challenges on the Panther goal would be rebuked by the Pana keeper.
With just under 15 minutes to play, one finally hit pay dirt as Sally Mattson’s strike from 25-yards out went up and over the keeper to make it a 2-0 game.
From there, Richardson would take over, with some help from sophomore Rupert on the freshman’s second goal. On a two-on-one breakaway, Richardson dished off to Rupert on the right, who put a touch pass back to Richardson right at the forward’s foot for a clean shot and her second goal with 9:49 to play.
Up 3-0, Hillsboro would finish off the game when Richardson completed her hat trick with 93 seconds left on the clock.
In their four games this year, Hillsboro has outscored teams 19-6, with their only loss coming against 2A Jerseyville by one goal.
Avery Walden would collect the shutout in net for Hillsboro, the Toppers’ second in four games.
Hillsboro will have another South Central Conference match-up on May 6, as they take on Southwestern in Piasa. The Birds are 1-3 this year, but their losses have come against metro area powers Jerseyville (6-2), Alton Marquette (10-0) and Civic Memorial (7-1).
May 3 at Hillsboro
Pana 0 0 - 0
Hillsboro 1 3 - 4
Goals: Hillsboro - Kinley Richardson 3, Sally Mattson 1. Assists: Layne Rupert 1, Sophia Hernandez 1. Goalkeeper: Hillsboro Avery Walden.
Record: Hillsboro (3-1, 1-0).