EDWARDSVILLE - Brennan Weller, in his first match after coming off a very successful basketball season, scored an early second half brace (two goals), and set up a penalty kick goal taken by Eli Bateman, starting a five-goal second half that turned the match around as Edwardsville took a 7-1 win over Belleville East in a Southwestern Conference match Tuesday night at Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers took a 2-1 lead into the interval before scoring the five unanswered goals in taking all three points from the visiting Lancers.

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It was Connor Kelley who put Edwardsville in the front in the first half on a nice goal that opened the scoring.

"We put a ball wide to Connor," said Tigers' head coach Mark Heiderscheid, "and beat the defender to the side, got into the box and finished in the first two minutes."

It gave the Tigers the lead, but East drew level a few minutes later when a defensive mistake set up a free kick on the edge of the box that Max Mueller converted off the set piece to tie the game 1-1.

Edwardsville took the lead for good on Chris Agwuedo's goal after 17 minutes, which was the score at halftime in a tightly played affair. Weller took over at the start of the second half with a pair of brilliant goals, the first coming off a great feed from Bateman in the 53rd minute to make it 3-1, and scoring from distance a few minutes later to make it 4-1. The fifth goal came about when Bateman again gave Weller a great ball, and was brought down in the box. Instead of taking the penalty himself, Weller unselfishly allowed Bateman to have the honor of taking the spot kick.

"In Brennan's words, 'he deserves it,'" Heiderscheid said.

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Bateman buried the penalty in the upper left corner to make it 5-1, and two more goals from both Andrew Smith and Jake Blume gave the Tigers the 7-1 win. But there's no doubt it was Weller's performance in the early part of the half that was the turning point.

"The second half opens up, and Brennan's back-to-back goals, it changed the whole game," Heiderscheid said.

Overall, it was a good performance for the Tigers, although there were a few tough spots to overcome in the first half.

"Early on, it was difficult for us," Heiderscheid said, "and we hit some rough patches and had trouble winning the midfield battle early on, but Brennan changed the game for us."

The Tigers kept their 100 percent record at 3-0-0, while the Lancers fell to 2-1-0 on the young season. Edwardsville hosts Belleville West on Thursday night in a 7 p.m. kickoff, then finishes their four-game home stand against Marquette Catholic in an 11:30 a.m. kickoff Saturday morning.

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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