A long week of soccer, a week in which they played five games in seven days, the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team wrapped up its marathon stretch with a win against Roxana Thursday, a loss against Rochester Friday, and a tie against Riverton Saturday morning.
The stretch of games that ran the gamut of possible outcomes were a bit of an anomaly for the orange and black, who absolutely dominated the Shells, hung in as close as they could against the Rockets before the wheels fell off in the last 10 minutes and struggled in a morning match against the Hawknadoes.
For the Toppers, who now sit 10-5-2, the last two weeks of the regular season will be important as they head into regional play and ponder who they really are.
On Thursday, Hillsboro would take it to Roxana early and often nearly scoring just one minute into the contest as sophomore Logan Murray found himself all alone on the doorstep but couldn’t take the last step in getting the ball across the line.
He’d make up for it on his next chance, however, as he buried his next shot on net to give the Toppers the quick 1-0 lead.
The home team was quick to add a second just one minute later as senior Ethan Lentz, taking a great lead pass from fellow senior Gavin Matoush, worked his way in and beat the Shell keeper to the high right side to go up 2-0 in the first four minutes.
Lentz would assist on the next Hillsboro tally as he’d connect with senior Matt Page, who also beat the Roxana keeper up high giving the Toppers the 3-0 lead.
The word of the next five minutes would be “almost” as senior Devin Speiser would almost convert a deep free kick for a goal, junior Adison Pollard would almost finish on a perfect cross ball, Lentz would almost redirect a corner kick chance, and Murray would almost bury a cross ball from Page.
But finally, at the 11:30 mark of the first, the Toppers would break through again as junior Will Christian would give the home team a 4-0 lead after he gathered up his own rebound and placed a rocket on net.
Using the sizeable lead to their advantage, Hillsboro would get a chance to rest their starters down the stretch in the half and play some guys off the bench. Luckily for the Toppers, the younger guys would pick up right where the older guys left off as freshman Ayden Meyer very nearly collected his first ever varsity goal with less than three minutes left in the half, freshman Nico Clark would almost find the upper 90, and freshman Antonio Valentin would hit the post in a crazy flurry to finish out the half.
Hillsboro would start the second half with their typical starting lineup and picked up right where they left off with shots on net and runs deep in the Shell’s zone. Lentz would nearly add his second of the game just 4:22 in, but his shot would sail just wide.
At the 9:20 mark of the half, the Toppers would add a fifth and final tally as Matoush was fouled in the box and Pollard would take the penalty kick, beating the Roxana keeper to the left side and putting Hillsboro up 5-0. From there Hillsboro would coast and pick up the 5-0 win.
Friday was a much bigger test as the Toppers traveled to Rochester to face off against the Rockets. After spotting them a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes, Matoush would find the back of the net making it 2-1. It would stay that way all the way until late in the second half before a breakdown on the part of the Topper backline would result in three goals in the final 10 minutes as Hillsboro dropped the tilt 5-1.
Saturday would be a bigger disappointment as a Pollard goal in the first 2:45 of the game would be given back two minutes later to make it 1-1. Neither team would be able to produce anything after that resulting in a 1-1 draw.
The Toppers are off today before traveling to Staunton Tuesday for a 5 p.m. contest against the Bulldogs.
Sept. 23 at Hillsboro
Roxana 0 0 - 0
Hillsboro 4 1 - 5
Hillsboro Scoring: Logan Murray 1, Ethan Lentz 1, Matt Page 1, Will Christian 1, Adison Pollard 1.
Sept. 24 at Rochester
Hillsboro 1 0 - 1
Rochester 2 3 - 5
Hillsboro Scoring: Gavin Matoush 1.
Sept. 25 at Hillsboro
Riverton 1 0 - 1
Hillsboro 1 0 - 1
Hillsboro Scoring: Adison Pollard 1.
Record: Hillsboro (10-5-2).