Girls Varsity Soccer
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METRO CUP GIRLS SOCCER: West knocks off Redbirds in Metro Cup opener
West knocks off Alton in season opener
Pete Hayes, email@example.com Published 10:23 pm, Monday, March 12, 2018
Alton’s Taylor Imming (9) moves the ball against Lily Stedman of Belleville West during Metro Cup tournament action Monday night in Belleville. Alton lost 2-0 Photo: Nathan Woodside | For The Telegraph
Nathan Woodside | For The Telegraph
Alton’s Taylor Imming (9) moves the ball against Lily Stedman of Belleville West during Metro Cup tournament action Monday night in Belleville. Alton lost 2-0
BELLEVILLE — On a chilly opening night of the girls prep soccer season, Alton coach Jeff Hayes saw enough of what he was hoping to see. And Belleville West’s Taylor Mathenia got just enough of what she needed - the ball and a bit of space.
The result was a 2-0 West victory over Alton in the first round of play in Pool B of the Metro Cup tournament’s Nike Bracket at Belleville West High School.
Mathenia, a Southeast Missouri recruit, got a through ball from the midfield in the 38th minute and scored the only goal the Maroons needed. They added a second goal early in the second half.
“Overall, I wasn’t unhappy with the way we played,” Hayes said. “It’s what we wanted - to move up into this bracket at the Metro Cup and play tough teams early.
“Our defense did a good job. West was looking to play the ball in to Mathenia and I thought (Megan) Zini and (Taylor) Imming did a good job on her.”
The Maroons defense, while not shadow marking Alton’s leading scorer from last season, Bri Hatfield, was keeping close tabs on her.
Hatfield, a Florida Gulf Coast recruit, had a pair of scoring chances in each half, but West goalie Bailey Redden (another SEMO recruit) notched the shutout. She made eight saves, including snuffing out a pair of chances by Alaina Nasello.
“We were floating Bri at attacking mid,” Hayes said, “and they kept a close eye on her.”
Last season, Hatfield led Alton in scoring with 20 goals and three assists.
“(Redden) is one of the best goalies in the St. Louis area,” Hayes said. “West’s defense is pretty solid anyway, but add her and it’s even tougher to score.”
The Redbirds’ defense drew positive reviews from Hayes.
“Makayla Cox played solid a holding mid,” he said. “She did a really nice job.”
Mathenia, who scored 17 goals with six assists last season, got her first of 2018 when she outraced the Redbirds defense to that ball out of the midfield.
In the 50th minute,West’s Olivia Alvarez scored out of a scramble in front of the Alton goal after a corner kick to make it 2-0.
The Redbirds’ best scoring chances came early in the first half. They started the half with four consecutive corner kicks and at least three well-placed shots that Redden stopped.
Hayes said that poor pacing by his team hurt.
“We were trying to play too fast, I think,” Hayes said. “Part of that is due to it being our first game.
“The key was not connecting enough passes. Once we get some games under our belt and settle in, we’ll adjust.
“This is what we need - good games against good teams.”
The Redbirds will take on defending Class 2A state champion Triad in their next Cup game, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Edwardsville High. In its final Pool B game on Friday, Alton will play Springfield at 5:30.