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CHS Soccer 04/12/18

Taylorville's Isabelle Norris, left, and Charleston's Julia Griffin, right, battle for possession in Charleston on Thursday.

KEVIN KILHOFFER, JOURNAL GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER

CHARLESTON -- The Charleston girls’ soccer team didn’t get off to a quick start against Taylorville on Thursday at Paul Stranz Field. After 20 minutes, the match was still scoreless with both teams missing on some quality chances.

Then Charleston started to possess a little better and it lead to a couple of goals. From there, everything started to click better for the Lady Trojans.

By the end of the match, Charleston found the back of the net five times and claimed a 5-0 shutout win over Taylorville.

“We had a lot more opportunities on goal in the second half, we are just getting unlucky with them not going in. Overall, the possession and control of the game was way better in the second half,” Charleston coach Josh Garrett said. “The second half of the first half was better, but it was a slow start and we need to find a way to avoid slow starts. After that, I was really pleased. We possessed the ball better and everyone got to see the field. Everybody that played really played well.”

Senior Emily Sweeney helped get the offense on track. She made it 2-0 with a goal in the 23rd minute and she finished with two goals on the day.

“I had some good assists from Maya Caltry and Grace Hosey. I think we played really well. After the first 20 minutes, we really got going,” Sweeney said. “I think after the first goal, we got in it.”

Sweeney has played a different role this season. She’s played out wide last year, but Charleston needed someone to fill one of the striker roles and Sweeney has transitioned into the role. It’s paid off since she’s become one of the top scorers for the Lady Trojans this season.

“It feels awesome. The midfield is helping us get the ball and helps us get the score,” Sweeney said. “Last year I played out wide, so it’s a lot different. I am getting the ball a lot more and scoring. It boosts my confidence a lot.”

Charleston improves to 7-1 overall with the win and 2-1 in the Apollo Conference. The Lady Trojans are currently tied with Mattoon for second in the conference, one match behind Mahomet-Seymour, and the two teams face each other next Thursday in Mattoon.

Charleston has a key stretch next week with a match at Olney on Monday, a road match on Tuesday against Lincoln and then next Thursday’s match at Mattoon.

“We feel good. Mattoon has been playing well, so they are definitely on our radar for a while and they are having a good season,” Garrett said. “It’s going to be busy because we only have two more practices before we hit the Mattoon game. We are going to have to focus, but I think we are ready for Mattoon and hopefully the girls can start a little stronger and if we do that, it should be a good game.”

Charleston missed on numerous chances in the first 20 minutes of the match. The shots either went wide or the goalkeeper was able to make the save.

“The slow start overall, it was a whole team thing,” Garrett said. “Just not controlling the ball.”

Taylorville got a few looks in the first 20 minutes, too, but the shots were either high or wide.

Charleston was able to connect in the 21st minute. The Lady Trojans had a corner kick and it led to a shot by Megan Garrett and her hard shot slipped past the keeper for a goal and a 1-0 lead.

Three minutes later, Hosey passed up to Sweeney and she blasted a shot from inside the box that connected for a goal and a 2-0 lead.

Charleston missed a couple more opportunities but the Lady Trojans were still able to take a commanding lead before the half. Julia Griffin was running up the field and passed to her left to her sister, Hope, who then worked her way from the corner of the field to the back corner of the box. She had another room and fired off a shot that found the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Trojans just missed on a few corner kick opportunities to begin the second half, but then in the 46th minute right after a goal kick, Charleston got possession back right away and it led to a goal from Sweeney for a 4-0 lead.

In the 53rd minute, Hope Griffin took a shot that hit the post and went in to give Charleston a 5-0 lead.

Charleston had a few more chances just miss and the Lady Trojans got the shutout with the 5-0 win.

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Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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