Senior Night for boys soccer
Senior Night at Loveless Park for the Carlinville boys soccer team Thursday featured a shot at the Cavaliers earning at least a share of the South Central Conference title.
It would not happen as Pana’s Jake McLeod scored four goals and despite being a man short for half of the second half, tacked on late insurance for a 5-1 victory.
Pana finished 9-0 in conference; Carlinville finished 7-2 in conference, and 11-8 overall heading to Wednesday’s regional contest against Southwestern at Loveless Park. The Cavies beat an improving Piasa Birds program 5-4 to open the season.
“The season’s not over for us,” CHS coach Tim Johnson said. “We’re going to play Southwestern Wednesday – it was a close game earlier in the year. We’ll be ready to compete again in one final farewell tour for these guys. I think they’ll be ready to step up to the plate and go.”
The Cavaliers eight seniors included Chase Wendt, Logan Turley, Bryce Rives, Ronak Patel, Koltan Page, Zach Nance, Tyler Martin and Jeffrey Grieve.
McLeod scored an unassisted goal in the first minute of the contest, unassisted. The Panthers scored with around seven minutes left in the first half on a goal by Jack Epley, assisted by Adam Miller.
The game turned a bit more aggressive in the second half. Pana players argued a goal should have been allowed off a corner kick, but the ball was ruled to have stayed out of the net.
Their frustrations continued as the Cavies got on the board in the sixth minute of the second half. Off a Chase Wendt free kick from midfield, the ball took a hop over the goalie, where Tyler Martin got credited for the goal with Landon Eades the assist.
So it was 2-1 when Pana’s McLeod got a good look at the goal from inside the 18-yard-line, putting it through the net to make it 3-1 19 minutes into the second half.
Some fouls, yellow cards and eventually a red card was issued to a Pana player, meaning the Panthers would play a man down for just less than half of the second half.
Page was given a penalty kick opportunity, but his shot just ricochet off the left goal post, which could have trimmed the deficit back to a goal.
Momentum swung back in Pana’s favor after that. Late in the match, McLeod added two late goals which made the final 5-1 in a game closer than that score would indicate.
Pana had 10 shots on goal to Carlinville’s two shots. Andrew DeNeve made five saves for the Cavies.
Johnson was appreciative of the senior group of players, as they were freshmen in Johnson’s first year at the helm.
“All of them have been around at least three years,” Johnson said. “A good majority of them have been around for four. This is a special group for me, because I’ve been here for four years. We started together. I am proud of these guys – they have grown a lot.”