BETHALTO – The Civic Memorial High School boys soccer team has the opportunity to do something special, win a sectional championship on their home field.
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In order to be able to play at Hauser Field at least one more time, the Eagles first had to make it out of their respected regional. They did so with ease beating Effingham 8-0 and then Mattoon 6-1 to lift their third Regional Championship plague in four years.
It set them up for an all-Mississippi Valley Conference sectional semifinals that they would indeed get to host.
They were game one of the doubleheader Wednesday night (Oct. 26) and beat their up-and-coming rivals by a score of 3-1. The Eagles ended Mascoutah’s campaign after splitting the regular season with them.
It didn’t take long for CM to get on the board, and it had to be their leading scorer. Just two minutes into the game the Eagles were awarded a penalty kick. It came after senior forward Bryce Davis was tripped up inside the 18-yard box after running onto a precise through ball from senior midfielder Brayden Zyung.
Davis had no hesitation and put the ball into the back of the net to take the early 1-0 lead.
Davis doubled the lead 20 minutes later when he ripped a shot from nearly 20-yards out. The shot froze Mascoutah’s sophomore goalkeeper Alex McKinley in his place as he could do nothing but watch the ball go in. The score was 2-0 heading into halftime.
CM head coach Derek Jarman told his team at halftime not to get too comfortable because a two-goal lead is known as being the most dangerous lead in sports.
“Get the next one, and it should break their backs,” he said about going out and scoring the next goal. That’s exactly what his team did.
CM kept their momentum going and went out and got a third goal, once again from Davis. He scored in the 52nd minute after delivering a perfect curled shot into the upper corner. It was his 61st goal of the season which is 8th all-time in single-season scoring according to the IHSA. It was also his 13th hat trick this year.
“He’s just got elite speed,” Jarman said about Davis. “He’s got IQ, he’s going to put pressure on you, and he’s physical too.” Jarman said that he’s always asked about Davis’ favorite goal and he said, “the next one.”
After Davis wrapped up his hat trick though it seemed as if the Eagles took their foot off the gas a little bit. Mascoutah was knocking on the door around the one-hour mark. They had chance after chance until one finally broke through in the 66th minute.
It was sophomore defender Roman Collins who cut into the three-goal deficit.
Mascoutah kept the ball in CM’s defensive third for about the last 20 minutes, but the Eagles’ defense prevailed. Lending a helping hand was senior goalkeeper Ryan Halley who made a few high-quality saves for his team, especially coming up clutch in the second half.
“They were throwing the kitchen sink at you,” Jarman said about the final 10 minutes or so of the game.
He went on to say that “that was knockout soccer right there, especially two teams who know each other so well.”
With the 3-1 win over Mascoutah, CM punched their ticket into the Class 2A Sectional Finals on Friday. They will square off against the Triad Knights at 5:30 p.m. from Hauser Field. Triad defeated Waterloo in their semifinal match by a score of 4-1.
It’s no secret that Triad is CM’s kryptonite. The Knights took both regular season meetings by scores of 1-0 on September 3rd and 2-1 on September 15th.
The last time the two teams met in the postseason was in the 2019-20 season when the Knights won 4-0 in the sectional semifinals. Triad finished third in state that year and were runners-up a season ago.
It doesn’t matter who CM faces; every game is going to be a grind from here on out. Jarman isn’t worried about the past, only the program’s future.
“It’s a big step,” Jarman said about going up for a sectional championship. “It’s big. It’s our home field, and it’s just one of those things where we want to make it to the next day. We don’t want practices to end.”
He said earlier this postseason that “if we’re going to host it, we might as well be in the dang thing.”