It isn’t often that a team knows exactly when their season will come to a close, but with this year’s boys soccer season, like most other IHSA sports, having no postseason, the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team knew that Thursday afternoon’s contest against the Greenville Comets would be the last time the squad took the pitch together.
With a season most didn’t even think would take place, the Toppers made the most of their opportunity, winning 11 games, a share of the South Central Conference title and outscoring their opponents a collective 37-12 along the way.
With another successful season in their rearview, the orange and black had one last test before them and after 80 minutes the dust would settle as the Toppers finished their season strong downing the Comets 2-1 on April 15.
Hillsboro wouldn’t waste any time taking it straight to the Comets as, just 1:30 into the tilt, a misplay on the part of the Greenville netminder allowed an open goal situation. Topper sophomore Adison Pollard was alone in front but the ball would bounce over his foot. Junior Ayden Brewer, coming out of the scrum would get the shot on but send it up and over the crossbar and out of play.
At the 12 minute mark of the half the Toppers would have another great chance as junior mid Ethan Lentz connected with Brewer up the middle. Brewer would create a little space, but sent the ball just wide and out of play, only to do it again a minute later, this time after accepting a pass from junior Kennon Beecher.
After a sophomore forward Will Christian would rocket a shot off the post at the 18 minute mark, the Toppers would finally break through as a Hillsboro corner taken by Pollard fell right in front of the Greenville net. Junior Matt Page would corral the ball and send it back out to Pollard and Pollard would send a perfect floating shot up and over the Comet keeper making it 1-0.
Hillsboro would nearly add to their lead just minutes later as, with 15:30 left in the frame, Lentz would shoot wide and junior Gavin Matoush would shoot over but with 10:00 left, the Toppers would break through again and it would be off the foot of Pollard as the sophomore sent one in on frame and off the keeper’s hands for his second of the game making it 2-0.
When play resumed in the second, Hillsboro would continue the attack at 12:30 into the second, as Lentz placed a perfect corner kick ball in front and freshman Griffen Hughes, who redirected the shot with a terrific header. The redirection would get swallowed up by the Comet keeper and sent up the other way, however.
On the next possession, Christian would hit his second post of the afternoon, this time after a perfect shot to the upper ninety caught a chunk of the crossbar and down in front.
With 18:30 left, the Comets would sneak one in as a shot skipped off of senior keeper Shaw Riggs’ hands making it 2-1. Freshman forward Logan Murray would nearly answer back on the ensuing possession and Lentz would nearly add a tally off a free kick with 10:10 left in the game but his freebie would get punched over at the last second and they would never get any closer than that.
At the other end, the Hillsboro back line was strong as usual, stopping each Greenville attack and sealing the 2-1 victory.
With the win, the Toppers finished the season 12-4-1, outscoring their opponents 39-13 (five of those 13 coming against Jerseyville in the second game of the season). Along the way, Hillsboro would shutout their opponents ten times with six of those shutouts coming in conference play. As well, the Toppers would only allow two conference goals, both coming in a 2-1 OT loss at Gillespie. Congrats to the Toppers on a terrific season.
April 15 at Hillsboro
Hillsboro 2, Greenville 1
Hillsboro Scoring: Addison Pollard 2.
Record: Hillsboro (12-4-1).