CHS boys’ soccer edges Hillsboro to win the Kickoff Classic

CHS boys’ soccer edges Hillsboro to win the

The Carlinville High School boys’ soccer team won the Route 66 Kickoff Classic championship game Sept. 1, beating Hillsboro 1-0. Pictured, from left, (back row) assistant coach Jason Crowell, assistant coach Ashley Campbell, Caleb Kolsto, Brody Harris, Nick Raney, Keegan Lynn, Asher Barbre, Ian Bethard, Levi Yudinsky, Trieton Park, Gavin Norwood, Paeton Brown, Matt Dunn, assistant coach Jono Verticchio, head coach Tim Johnson, (front row) Jack Rives, Evan Gahr, Jack Goby, Tyler Summers, Henry Kalaher, Will Mayer, Tanner Reese, Elijah Suttles, Kaelen Furness, Kale Barkley and Matt Reiher. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.

Cavaliers rally past Maryville Christian, remain unbeaten

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

On Sept. 1, every member of the Carlinville High School boys’ soccer team, including their head coach Tim Johnson, accomplished something that none of them had ever done before – win the championship of the Kickoff Classic. Furthermore, the Cavaliers got to do it at home against one of their biggest and most hated rivals – the Hillsboro Hiltoppers.

“It’s been a long time since we played Hillsboro here and we were ready for them to come here,” Johnson said. “They’re always a tough opponent for us. They challenge us and give us their best every time. It was good for us to come out on top.”

The Cavaliers only needed one goal to get the job done, and it was provided by an all-familiar senior duo.

With 8:11 remaining in the first half, Yudinsky connected with Trieton Park for the score. Despite Hillsboro forcing the Carlinville offense into a tough angle, Park was still able to weave his way through a stubborn defense and complete the play on the other end of a perfect Yudinsky cross pass.

To make matters even more impressive, the two stars didn’t even have to use their voices to communicate. It was the true definition of an ‘ambush attack’ that was silent but deadly.

“We’ve been playing for so long together that we don’t even have to say anything to each other,” Park said. “We know exactly what we’re doing. It’s just mind connection.”

“The chemistry is just there,” Yudinsky said.

At the start of the second half, the Cavaliers had to endure an adverse stretch. The Hiltoppers became more aggressive offensively and goalkeeper Will Meyer had to leave the game for a brief moment due to injury.

“We expected some form of a change there,” Johnson said. “We knew they were going to be amped up and I think we did a great job adapting to that. We prefer it not be a one goal game, but we still seemed comfortable in that position.”

Meyer, a sophomore, made several key saves in the win, including one when he leaped up as high as he could and pulled down an equalizing shot attempt with both hands during the game’s final minute.

“I know he’s young, but Will is an accomplished goalkeeper,” Johnson said. “That was just another play for us. We’re comfortable with him coming out of the box like that.”

The win, which kept Carlinville unbeaten, was another redemption triumph that the Cavaliers had been thinking about since last season. Hillsboro defeated CHS and stripped the Cavaliers of sole supremacy in the South Central Conference earlier this spring.

For the seniors, this was three years in the making. Carlinville made it to the Kickoff Classic championship match only to lose against Jerseyville in 2018.

“It’s a great feeling,” Yudinsky said. “I’ve been thinking about this moment since freshman year.”

For the complete story, see the September 9th edition of the Macoupin County Enquirer~Democrat