Aces Soccer Report From Coach Ed Berberich

The MCHS Soccer Aces traveled to Teutopolis early Saturday morning to continue tournament play against Salem, winning 7-0 to stay in the tourney lead with 9 total points. Beau Stipp started off the scoring in the 2nd minute off an assist from Ethan Belt, followed 3 minutes later by a goal from Rayce Loudermilk assisted by Francesco Terna. Britton Heinrich gave the Aces a 3 goal lead in the 6th minute, scoring with another assist from Terna. Stipp then assisted Heinrich on a goal in the 17th minute. Jarrett West scored in the 19th minute, assisted by Stipp with a key pass from Iacopo Clementi, followed 1 minute later by Clementi scoring on Stipp’s 3rd assist of the half to give the Aces a 6 goal lead at the break. Just a couple minutes into the 2nd half, Clayton Halbig scored on an assist from Belt, leading to a shortened game and a final score of 7-0. The Aces took 22 shots, 14 on frame, created 15 chances, took 2 corner kicks, and had 4 interceptions. Tye Kanipe had 1 save in goal. The Wildcats took 2 shots, both off frame.

The Aces headed in to their 4th and final game of the tournament against Pinckneyville later Saturday, holding the tournament lead over Newton due to owning the tiebreaker in goal differential. To secure the championship, the Aces had to win by at least 2 goals. Mt Carmel took the early lead in the 8th minute on a goal from Terna, assisted by Stipp, but Pinckneyville answered 4 minutes later, scoring on a free kick played long upfield and making it’s way over the defense to be finished by their striker. The half ended with the 1-1 tie, but just 2 minutes into the 2nd half Jarrett West scored to give the Aces the lead again, along with a mental lift. Terna scored in the 42nd minute on an assist by Heinrich, and then Loudermilk scored the 4th goal of the match just a couple minutes later, assisted by Stipp. This gave the Aces a 4-1 lead and guaranteed them the championship. The Aces took 23 shots in the match, 15 on frame, had 12 chances created and took 4 corners. Tye Kanipe had 1 save in goal. Pinckneyville took 2 shots, 1 on frame. For the tournament, the Aces scored 26 goals and conceded 2. One of those on a penalty kick and the 2nd on a free kick.

Our schedule was a bit harder than when we won last year, so this was a legitimate early season accomplishment. Teutopolis was a good team, and Pinckneyville gave us a problem to solve with their counter-attacking style. They mostly kept 10 players back and then looked to play long to their striker up top. We weren’t used to having to try to play though so many defenders in the back and it took us into the 2nd half to really consistently solve it. The 1st half, we seemed to stall out a lot at the top of the attacking 3rd, but in the 2nd half we started to be a bit more patient in finding those final passes to free up shots for each other. In general, we’re playing well off each other and moving the ball around the field nicely. Our possession game has taken a huge step forward from last year, and we’re attacking nicely within that framework. Defensively we’ve taken a step forward as well. We’re being more aggressive in getting to the ball, both in pressuring dribblers and in trying to beat the opponent’s passes to the players and disrupting the opposition attacks. We’ve got a much longer bench this year, and I think the young guys and the new players are helping to push the whole team to get better. With 24 players on the team it can be hard to get everybody in, especially in these shortened matches, but the other side of that is it maybe pushes all the players to go a little harder in practice and in the games. Now that the shorter games of the tournament are done, we’ll be looking to start getting more minutes for the players that were maybe a little up and down in terms of playing time so far.

The Aces now stand 4-0 on the season, and travel to Pinckneyville on Tuesday for a rematch with the Panthers.