Fresh off their big 1-0 victory over the Carlinville Cavaliers 48 hours before, the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team returned to the field Thursday afternoon, Sept. 16, as they played host to the Greenville Comets at the Sports Complex.
If there was any question that the orange and black might suffer a success “hangover” and be less than on their game after the game against the Cavies, those questions would be answered early and often as a tally in the opening five minutes and four more in the remaining 75:00 would give Hillsboro the big 5-0 victory and keep them a perfect 4-0 in South Central Conference play.
The offense would come out gunning immediately for the Toppers as the home team spread the field against the Comets and were able to work the ball back and forth, even at times dropping it back to their defenders to generate runs on the Greenville net.
As a result, the Comets would have to get a little physical to slow down the Hillsboro attack and this would very nearly bite them as they were whistled for a foul just inside their own half and senior defender Devin Speiser lined up for a deep free kick.
As he’s been all season, Speiser was spot on with the ball and connected with junior midfielder Will Christian inside the Greenville penalty area. Christian would get his shot off but the junior would push it just wide and out of play.
Hillsboro wouldn’t have to wait to avenge the near miss, though, as on the ensuing possession the Comets were whistled for another foul. This time the Greenville backline would misplay the ball and allow it to trickle out to senior forward Gavin Matoush.
Matoush would make the most of the good fortune by touching the pass off to fellow senior Ethan Lentz, who would quickly knock off to junior Adison Pollard. From there, Pollard would be off to the races and work in all alone, beating the keeper to the low left side and giving Hillsboro the early 1-0 lead.
The Toppers would keep up the attack and continue to keep the Comet defense busy as they kept with their spread formation and moved the ball back and forth on the visitors manufacturing looks on net.
After a couple of near misses, Hillsboro would add to their lead just past the halfway mark of the first as senior sweeper Matt Page connected with Christian on a throw deep in the Greenville end. Christian would put it up and over the head of the keeper and into the upper right corner for the 2-0 lead, a lead they´d keep into the break.
At halftime, the Toppers would honor their seniors and their parents with a ceremony at midfield. Those honored were Ayden Brewer and his parents Trevis and Jill Brewer; Ethan Lentz and his parents Matt and Brandi Lentz; Gavin Matoush and his parents Chris and Jill Matoush; Keegan Murray and his parents John and Nicki Murray; Matt Page and his parents Dan Page and Coral Christian; and Devin Speiser and his parents Doug and Lori Speiser.
When play resumed in the second, Hillsboro would continue the attack, nearly scoring just one minute into the frame as Lentz found Matoush in front. Matoush would shoot right into the keeper´s hands, though, and end the drive.
After the near-miss, the Toppers would have a bit of a hard time finishing as an adjustment defensively for Greenville flooded the back with more bodies and less space to move. This, coupled with more focus on individual defense as opposed to full field formations, would clog the middle and it would take a little while for Hillsboro to adjust.
When they did, however, the offense would ramp up for more runs with a big one at the 16-minute mark of the half as the Comets were whistled for a foul just outside the 25 yard line. Christian would line up for the free kick and his kick would go right into the defensive wall set up by the Greenville midfield. But his shot would ricochet right back to him and he would absolutely bury the rebound into the upper left side for his second of the match, putting the Toppers up 3-0.
Then, with 16:30 left, Matoush would get in on the scoring with as Lentz controlled the ball at midfield and was hammered with a body check from the Comet midfielder. Lentz was able to keep his feet as well as possession dribbling even further into the Greenville end before connecting with Matoush up front.
Matoush would finish the run, beating the keeper to the low right side to give Hillsboro the 4-0. The two would connect just minutes later as Lentz once again found Matoush all alone. Matoush would pick up his second of the night and third in two games, dooming the Comets and sealing off senior night with the 5-0 victory.
“I’m so glad for this group of seniors tonight, for them to get this win,” said Hillsboro coach Jason Burke, who collected his 199th win in the match. “We love these guys so much and they’ve been so important to our squad for four years and these have arguably been some of the most successful years for our school history and this group is a huge part of that success. I’m so proud of these guys and so happy for them.”
The win keeps the Toppers a perfect 4-0 in SCC play and 8-4 overall. Hillsboro plays at home again this afternoon, Sept. 20, with a 4:30 p.m. start against the Lincolnwood Lancers.
Sept. 16 at Hillsboro
Greenville 0 0 - 0
Hillsboro 2 3 - 5
Scoring: Hillsboro - Will Christian 2, Gavin Matoush 2, Adison Pollard 1.
Record: Hillsboro (8-4, 4-0).