By Mark Jurgena
A perfect 3-0 week!
The Collinsville boys soccer team improved to 9-2 overall and 6-2 in SWC play with three key conference victories last week.
Collinsville 1 Edwardsville 0
CHS began the week with a 1-0 win over arch-rival Edwardsville on March 30th.
The Kahoks used an own goal by the Tigers in the 2nd half to pull off the victory.
Collinsville’s Tagg Baker was fouled giving the Kahoks a free kick opportunity.
London Mahat fired the ball into the goal box and an Edwardsville defender hustled to intercept the ball and attempted to direct it out of bounds via a header.
However, the ball tucked in the lower left corner of the net for an own goal and a 1-0 lead for CHS with 8:01 left in the game.
“It was a hard-fought game between two talented teams,” said coach Rob Lugge after the game. “Through senior leadership, our younger players are seeing the effort it takes to be successful playing high school soccer and you can see it in our results. We are always trying to prove our worth.”
Just over two minutes beforehand, Collinsville keeper Miguel Gaspar kept the score tied 0-0 when he punched away a blistering shot from 2019 all-stater Brennan Weller of the Tigers.
Gaspar ended up with five saves on the evening to raise his season record to 5-0 with five shutouts. He also was credited with a shared shutout on March 13th against Belleville West.
Collinsville 2 Belleville West 0
CHS followed that big win with a match against a winless Belleville West squad on the road on April 1st. They returned with a 2-0 win.
“The boys started off strong, but couldn’t seem to find the back of the net,” said Lugge. “They stayed calm and kept to the game plan and a goal eventually came.”
Luis Fernandez and Gavin Chrisman both scored goals for CHS.
Gaspar was again in goal for Collinsville and recorded another shutout.
Collinsville 4 Belleville East 3 (PKs)
Senior leadership found a way.
Facing a 3-1 deficit late in the 2nd half and their chances at an SWC title fading, CHS needed leaders and seniors stepped up.
Seniors Tagg Baker and Yahir Figueroa knocked home the 4th and 5th penalty kicks for Collinsville while senior goalkeeper Miguel Gaspar fought through his toughest game of the season to make two key saves during PKs to lead the Kahoks to a 4-3 win on April 3rd at Kahok Stadium.
“We practice them (PKs) daily,” said Lugge. “I read an article a long time ago about (St. Louis) CBC and Terry Michler he said that he practices PKs daily. So if the winningest high school coach in the United States does it, I think it’s good enough for us.”
Freshmen Mahat and Adam Reiniger scored on their kicks while Gaspar made one save and CHS began PKs with a 2-1 lead.
Gaspar and East Keeper Caleb Simpson each made a save in the 3rd round before Baker and Figueroa sealed the victory.
I told the boys, with the East goalie, he’s about 6’6”,” Lugge said. “I told them to be confident, choose your spots, and hit it with pace. Anything that’s not hit hard, he’s probably going to get to it.”
Penalty kicks, overtime, or even a Collinsville win appeared completely out of reach as the Lancers controlled play for most of the game.
“Belleville East, they came out and they had a good game plan,” Lugge said. “We had some unfortunate plays in the backfield and they capitalized. The next thing you know we’re down.”
The Lancers scored just over two minutes into the game on a free kick by Brock Forney. It was the first goal given up this season by Gaspar.
East continued to have the better of the play in the 1st half and took a 1-0 lead into the break.
But Lugge and his troops made some adjustments during halftime.
“We changed our tactics a little bit,” he said. “We wanted to put a little more pressure on them. Belleville East was playing well but we thought if we pressured them a little bit higher up the field then we could disrupt their possession game and get the ball and get a goal.”
The adjustment paid dividends almost immediately when Mahat gained possession of the ball and got it to Yahir Figueroa who sprinted down the right side and beat East goalie Caleb Simpson to tie the score two minutes into the 2nd half.
However East knocked in the next two goals to take a 3-1 lead with 25 minutes to play.
With 15 minutes left, CHS was still down two goals when the Kahoks mounted an attack.
After two shots and a rebound Alex Lorsbach tucked the ball into the left corner past the 6’6” Simpson to make it a 3-2 game.
Ten minutes later, a Mahat corner kick bounced off a couple of players in the goal box and onto the right foot of Baker to knot the score at 3-3.
Collinsville had several shots on goal the remainder of the half but Simpson came up big in net several times for East to send the game to overtime.
Neither side could score in OT and the game moved on to penalty kicks.
Kahok Notes: Entering the April 3rd contest Gaspar was tied for 9th in solo shutouts in the stltoday.com area with Mason Beck of St. Louis (Chaminade). Both goalies have six. Beck played an entire fall season in Missouri.
SWC Notes: The SWC Conference race finishes tonight with Collinsville at league leader O’Fallon and Edwardsville at Belleville East. On Tuesday, Collinsville hosted Alton while O’Fallon and Edwardsville squared off as well. Results were unavailable at press time.
2021 SWC Standings
Belleville East 4-4
Belleville West 0-7-1