ALTON – The Alton High School boys soccer team hosted the Edwardsville Tigers Thursday night at Piasa Motor Fuels Field at AHS.
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The Redbirds dropped their second consecutive game to open the season as they fell 3-0 to the Tigers. Alton had previously lost to Belleville East in their home opener by a score of 3-0 back on Tuesday.
Alton was supposed to host an eight-team tournament to open but given last week’s heat wave it was completely scratched. Instead, the Redbirds were thrown right in against their tough Southwestern Conference rivals.
“We didn’t get our three games in our tournament in,” Alton head coach Greg Nasello said Thursday night. “We’re learning a new way to play and we’re starting to get it, but God I’d love to have those games.”
This was the case for a lot of schools. Many teams are finding themselves a week behind, and Edwardsville head coach Mark Heiderscheid would agree with that sentiment.
He believes that the lack of games affected his team’s fitness level, especially coming off an overtime game against Collinsville just two days prior.
Another rare instance for Edwardsville was running with a bit shorter bench.
“We do have some depth; we were missing some guys tonight due to illness, but we still kept some good rotation. I think the players really adjusted well.”
Still, the Tigers were able to get the result but suffered a scare early on.
The first real chance of the game came from Alton.
Junior midfielder Dillan Cowan ran onto an over-the-top ball in the 6th minute and had a shot from close range gobbled up by EHS goalie, senior Zeke Manning to keep the game even early on.
Twenty minutes later, the Tigers found the break though. After Alton struggled to clear the ball beyond their 18-yard box, the ball made its way to senior Evan Moore. He took no time to realize the goalie was in a bad position and slotted the ball home from an awkward angle to make it 1-0.
Edwardsville had most of the advantage to finish out the first half but couldn’t find the back of the net again as the game began to grow more physical.
The Tigers had numerous chances to open the second half, including a crossbar hit, and eventually found the net again in the 48th minute to double their lead. They later slammed the door shut with a goal in the 79th minute to make it 3-0.
The result sees Edwardsville improve to 2-1 on the year while the Redbirds fall to 0-2, but Nasello still likes what he’s seeing from his side.
“I’m really impressed with the way we’re working the ball,” he said. “The boys are getting it.”
“I’m happy with the way we’re progressing, and I think we’ll get there in the next couple of days.”
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