SWC Co-Champs: Weller Has Brace, Kelley, Smith And Mills All Score On Boys Soccer Senior Night Finale For Tigers
EDWARDSVILLE - Senior striker Brennan Weller had a brace (two goals), while seniors Andrew Smith, Connor Kelley and Andrew Mills all scored as Edwardsville's boys soccer team ended its season with a share of the Southwestern Conference championship in a 5-0 win over Belleville West Wednesday evening at Tiger Stadium.
It was the team's annual Senior Night match, and in pregame ceremonies, the team's seniors - Frankie Fayollat, Drew Dacus, Parker Matthews, Ghaz Kahn, Smith, Jack Heiderscheid, Kelley, Eli Bateman, Weller, Jake Blume, Camden Seal, Mills, Auggie Gianaris, Grant Toby and Kadin Chiapelli - and their families were all honored and thanked for their dedication and service to the program, and Tigers' coach Mark Heiderscheid is very proud of his Class of 2021.
"I always like starting the seniors," Heiderscheid said, "and it's just really nice to reward those kids for four years of hard work and dedication."
It was especially nice to see the entire team get better over their last three matches, as the Tigers were hitting their stride.
"The last several games, we've really picked up our ability to move the ball and finish chances," Heiderscheid said, "and it's great how much better we've played in these last three games."
Smith opened the scoring in the opening minutes off a cross from Kelley, then Mills scored from the spot after Weller was brought down in the box. True to Weller's character, he gave the penalty to Mills, who buried it deep into the corner to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
"(Smtih) scored one early in the season for us," Heiderscheid said, "and he gets one in our last game. Brennan draws the PK, he drives through the box with the ball past everyone, the ball is handled, and Brennan is such a good guy, he gives it to one our our defenders. And Andrew is one of our penalty kick shooters, and he buries it."
Weller's first goal came shortly before halftime, when he scored from an impossible angle, somehow putting the ball into the net to make it 3-0 for Edwardsville at halftime, then early in the second half, scored one of his trademark goals to make it 4-0.
"The second goal is just classic Brennan Weller," Heiderscheid said, "where he's splitting players in the middle of the pitch, and he curls the ball into the net."
Kelley scored the final goal to make the final 5-0, and it was a typical Kelley goal, taking advantage of his chance to score.
"He's been one of our top scorers," Heiderscheid said, "so I'm not surprised he finishes when given the chance."
The Tigers finish the season 9-2, with their final scheduled game on Saturday against Belleville Althoff Catholic cancelled, and Heiderscheid is very proud of his senior class, many of them whom helped Edwardsville come in third place in the 2019 IHSA Class 3A tournament. And he's feeling very optimistic about the future of the program.
"I think each year is always tough to say," Heiderscheid said. "We have to replace 15 seniors, but we've really got a solid group of juniors, with several on the varsity. And we've got some key sophomores returning as well. And then, I really believe our freshman class is one of the most talented groups we've had in some time. I'm feeling optimistic, and I think the future's bright."