MATTOON -- It only took 15 seconds for the Mattoon Green Wave soccer team to show Mount Zion they had come to play, scoring their first of five goals. Mattoon not only clinched a 5-1 victory, but also their fourth consecutive Apollo Conference title on Saturday.

Mattoon’s Tiago Lages kickstarted the strong offensive performance by his team in the first seconds, building on 5 passes, and an assist from Jacob Spitz, to score the first goal.

This was just the beginning of a Lages trend on Saturday.

Less than 4 minutes later, Lages was back at it again with another goal kicked straight and center in the net with ease to put Mattoon ahead 2-0.

Mount Zion responded 21 minutes later with a goal of their own, but Lages’s hat trick shortly followed. Just three minutes later, an assist from Mattoon’s Chase Monroe allowed Lages to score once again to put the team ahead 3-1.

Both teams wouldn’t score again until after the half. Only 13 minutes into the 2nd half, Mattoon’s Jake Ghere assisted Devin Perry for the fourth goal of the game.

The same Ghere and Perry duo produced another goal nine minutes later to put the home team ahead 5-1.

Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said the team fought hard against Mount Zion and deserved the big win.

“Mount Zion gave us a heck of an effort day, gave us a good game,” Ghere said. “But I thought the boys played well, did a great job of finishing off the season.”

Mattoon senior Cam Considine reflected on the team’s success over the last four years. “Well it’s just awesome to win the Apollo Conference 4 years in a row,” Considine said. “I love playing with this team. We’re one big family that works well together.”

Ghere was pleased the team pulled through despite the windy conditions.

“The weather was tough, the wind affected our game a little bit,” Ghere said. “I think they did an excellent job at judging the balls in the air, and played well.”

Ghere also mentioned Lages’s contributing effort from the very beginning, and how important it was for the team’s win. “Tiago really stepped up for us in the 1st half and gave us that spark,” Ghere said.

The Mattoon squad is to travel to Charleston for another rivalry game on Thursday. The Coles County teams clashed previously this season on September 21st, a game in which Mattoon came out on top with a 4-0 win.

“It’s nice to win it and then still have an Apollo Conference game against Charleston on Thursday,” Ghere said. “No pressure on that, since there’s no conference standings to worry about.”

The clash game is to begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

JV wins

Mattoon blanked Mount Zion 6-0 improving to 13-1-1 overall and 7-1 in the Apollo Conference. 

Mason Wright had two goals, while Tyler Warner, Jakob Weder, Jaydn Princko, and Brenton Eggleston had one goal each. Warner and Chris Winograd had assists for the Green Wave. 

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Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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