COLLINSVILLE - Edwardsville and Collinsville played a tight, hard-fought match once again Tuesday night at Kahok Stadium but a brilliant goal 10 minutes from the end by Adam Reiniger was the difference in the Southwestern Conference boys' soccer match.

The Tigers played very well throughout and had the better of the play in the middle of the match, resulting in an equalizer right on the hour off a scramble in front of the Kahok goal and had chances throughout the match that just wouldn't go in.

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"Well, if it 's a loss, then you have to know it's a loss, so I feel bad for the boys," said Edwardsville head coach Mark Heiderscheid. "And, of course, that's not going to be what you want, so therefore, you can never be jubilant with a loss. So there has to be a level of 'I want to correct things, I want to be better,' and that. Having said so, there were so many things that were good takeaways from this.

"I've had 2-1 losses where it's like 'wow, we are just not where we want to be.' But this is one where Collinsville took their chances and really made the most of the couple of chances they had. And that's what good teams do. That said, I thought that we connected much more better than what I had anticipated in this game. I thought through stages, our ability to construct half-chances was a lot better than I was expecting. I thought our overall shape defending was better than I was expecting, a few mistakes here and there. But I was happy to see what type of character, work rate, commitment, intensity and possession and good, constructive soccer we could do.

"So to be honest with you," Heiderscheid continued, "I think that, given this, this was a game where I could look at most of the parts were getting score and see lots of good things that our players, as a team and as individuals. But of course, it's just a couple of things that kind of cost us and some moments where we checked out, free kick just happens t o go in, a roller and they get the counterattack and so it's a goal. But again, kudos to them. They're a very good team, they're my consistent team to be one of the top teams in our area here, without a doubt, or the top one. And I felt we played very well against them."

The game-winner that was scored by Reiniger was a clinical, goal-scorers type of goal that was brilliant to see.

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"It was. He's a great player," Heiderscheid said. "He is a phenomenal goal scorer. They won it, they banged it forward and he just sprinted. And that's part of the game. And again, he is very clinical. If you have clinical finishers like Reiniger - like the whole Reiniger family. Especially Joe," Heiderscheid said with a smile. "But then, you are going to have a guy like that win you a lot of games. And so, often, that's a difference. I had Luke Kreamalmeyer, it's like I'm going to win a lot of games when I have a guy like that. So anyhow, yeah, there's that. He's a great finisher on his part, he's a phenomenal player and I'll stand by that."

The Tigers kept battling the entire 80 minutes and did create good chances, but the Kahok defense and goalie Nick Horras, were able to keep out of the goal.

"Again, we think of the beginning of the game, we almost scoring," Heiderscheid said, "we make a check out. they score a goal. We almost came back, I think, in the first half, had some good chances. Second, we score the one and at that point, for all practical purposes, it's going to be 2-1, us, because we're pressing, we're pressing. So I thought we were playing very well. But then, it's kind of just one of those things, it just takes one moment, they banged it forward and that was that. So, honestly, I'm pretty proud of the way we played again."

The Kahoks got an early goal from Landon Mahat off a free kick in the fifth minute directly in front of goal, where Mahat took the shot from distance. The ball bounded and rolled past the Tigers wall into the bottom right corner of the net to give Collinsville a 1-0 lead. Play settled into a tactical batter around the midfield area, but in the 17th minute, Owen Logan swooped down the left flank and hit a good cross that the Kahok goalie covered up very nicely to preserve the lead. In the 26th minute, a mix-up in the Kahok defense led to a chance for Axton Anom, but the Kahoks went on a counterattack that was thwarted at the defense, keeping the match at 1-0. Both sides were able to create more chances, but the score stayed 1-0 at the interval.

The second half started with the Tigers having the better of the play, but weren't able to score until right before the hour when, during a scramble in front of the Collinsville goal, the ball went in off a Kahok player for an own goal that brought Edwardsville level at 1-1. The Tigers created a couple of great chances, but in the 70th minute, the Kahoks went on a counterattack and it finished with Reiniger hitting a perfect shot that eluded the Tiger keeper and went inside the far post into the net to give Collinsville a 2-1 lead. In the final 10 minutes, both teams had great opportunities, especially Edwardsville in the dying seconds. But the Kahok defense stood first in preserving their 2-1 win.

The Tigers are now 9-4-1 and play again Thursday at Alton at 6:30 p.m. to complete a road swing, then return home Saturday at 11 a.m. to play Normal Community before playing at Belleville East on Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. Heiderscheid knows that the Tigers will keep moving forward and keep on working hard.

"We just continue to play out the season," Heiderscheid said. "I mean, really, it's like we play, we play, we play. I think we've had some times where, the middle of the season, we're very tired, very stagnant, a little stodgy, to use a British term. But then, now, honestly, I'm aggravated a couple of mistakes, at times. But I believe in our team, and there's a difference. And all of a sudden, I have a belief system with this group again. I thought summer, mmm, we had some good playing things, but just didn't know. At the end of the season, I know it was going to be difficult. Middle of the season, I'm worried where we're at. And then, now, I'm starting to have a good belief system for what these guys can do and that's how I really, truly feel."

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