The Hillsboro High School boys soccer team kicked off their 2021 “spring” season in style Tuesday night, March 9, as they traveled to Staunton to face off against the host Bulldogs in a rare non-conference slate against their South Central Conference counterparts.
With the season being a bit of a scheduling nightmare and the typical conference catalog anything but typical, several South Central Conference schools are committing to “home and home” games where they´ll play each other twice, but only one will be counted towards the conference record.
For the Bulldogs and the Toppers, Tuesday’s tilt was one without conference ramifications, but it was also a chance for each team to see what this year’s editions of their squads looked like coming out of the gate.
Fortunately for the orange and black, what they saw would be pleasant and pointed in the right direction as a goal in each half, and chances aplenty for more, propelled Hillsboro to the 2-0 victory.
The Toppers were able to control possession from the opening and would nearly break through just two minutes into the contest when sophomore midfielder Adison Pollard corralled a loose ball in front of the Staunton net and put the shot on.
Pollard’s shot would be collected by the Bulldog keeper though, and sent back up the other way.
Hillsboro would come close again at the ten minute mark of the half as junior midfielder Ethan Lentz rocketed a hard shot on from the slot, but his shot would ricochet off the Staunton sweeper and out of play.
Junior mid Ayden Brewer would hit a crossbar at the 14:30 mark of the first before the Toppers would finally break through when, at the 16:20 mark of the half, Lentz would put the shot on frame. The Staunton keeper would get a hand on the shot for the initial save, but Pollard was there to bury the rebound to put Hillsboro up 1-0.
Senior keeper Shaw Riggs would keep the Bulldogs honest through the waning minutes of the half and the score would stay 1-0.
When play resumed in the second, it would only take the Toppers 30 seconds to add to their lead as some incredible passing on the part of Lentz found Brewer all alone up top.
From there Brewer was off to the races, beating the keeper to the low right side and giving Hillsboro the 2-0 lead. Brewer would very nearly add another tally a minute later but his effort would be turned away and sent up the other end.
From there, the Topper defenders would take over, never really allowing many looks on net and Hillsboro would try to add to the lead, but one thing or another would keep them from increasing the advantage. Riggs would do the rest as two big saves down the stretch preserved the shutout and the 2-0 win for Hillsboro.
The Toppers didn't fare as well in game number two, a 5-0 loss to Jerseyville on Wednesday, March 10.
Hillsboro will be at home for the first time on Thursday, March 11, when they play host to Pana at the Hillsboro Sports Complex.
March 9 at Staunton
Hillsboro 1 1 - 2
Staunton 0 0 - 0
Scoring: Hillsboro - Adison Pollard 1, Ayden Brewer 1. Goalkeeper: Hillsboro - Shaw Riggs.
March 10 at Jerseyville
Jerseyville 5, Hillsboro 0
Record: Hillsboro (1-1).