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EDWARDSVILLE – Coming off a scoreless draw against Chaminade Tuesday night, Edwardsville's boys soccer team drew another difficult assignment at Tiger Stadium when Granite City came calling Thursday night.
“I think it's always a good rivalry between us and Granite City,” said Tiger coach Mark Heiderscheid. “I think they always come out extremely ready to play.”
It was the also the first Southwestern Conference match of the season for both teams and the first league match for new Warrior coach Ryan Reeves, who took the helm from Kenny Jackson this season.
But in the end, Edwardsville came out on top of the Warriors thanks to a pair of goals each from Alec Mills and Ethan Miracle as EHS took a 4-0 win over GCHS to go to 1-0-1 overall and 1-0-0 in the SWC; Thursday's match was Granite City's season and league opener.
There was a difference the styles fo play between Chaminade and Granite City, Heiderscheid felt. “I think this one was a really good step because it allowed us to play so much drastically different between Chaminade; there, we had to chase a bit because they were a little more strong than us physically and I think in this one, it took us to settle in – the first 10 minutes – after that, we weren't scoring goals at (the half-hour), but we did a much better job of connecting the ball and moving it,” Heiderscheid said.
“I think that was a good thing; I think the kids were sort of a little bit anxious. When it came to halftime, they see 0-0, but that's not really unusual in the sport of soccer sometimes - it takes an awful lot to go ahead and break things down.”
While it was scoreless at the half, Heiderscheid knew things could happen quickly in the second half. “Fortunately, we were able to get the one (from Mills); sometimes this happen later,” Heiderscheid said. “This may have been a 1-0 contest because Granite held the fort very well; I thought they kept their (defensive) shape perfectly and that makes it difficult for us and their fighting spirit was really good.
“When we had some good one-twos and worked a lot of quick touches, we were able to get inside at that point.”
Mills' first goal came in the 54th minute thanks to some good work in the penalty area as the ball came to Mills, who tucked it behind Warrior goalkeeper Braden Dickerson to put EHS up 1-0; Miracle followed up with a 69th-minute goal to essentially put the match on ice before he scored again in the 77th minute. Mills wrapped up the scoring with an 80th-minute goal to give the Tigers the win.
Michael Hoelting recorded his second straight clean sheet for the Tigers with the win.
Next up for Edwardsville is this weekend's Alton Round-Robin Tournament at Piasa Motor Fuels Field on the AHS campus; the Tigers meet up with Murphysboro at 4 p.m. today, then take on Dunlap at 9:30 a.m. Saturday before wrapping up the tournament against the host Redbirds at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
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