CHARLESTON — Effingham and Charleston took an early Red Pool lead at the Charleston Red and Gold Invitational tournament Wednesday, downing Mattoon and Teutopolis, respectively.
The Flaming Hearts shut out Mattoon 2-0 at Sister City Park in the tournament opener, and Charleston took down a game Teutopolis squad 1-0 on their home turf at Charleston High School.
Games were played with a running clock and two thirty-minute halves.
The winners will face off Friday at 4 p.m., with Effingham and Charleston playing at the high school. Teutopolis and Mattoon will look to grab their first tournament win each at 4 p.m. at Sister City Park.
Katz leads Hearts in shutout
It certainly didn't take long for junior Tyler Katz to make his mark in the Flaming Hearts' opener against Mattoon.
Just seconds into the contest, Katz received a cross on the left side of the field with nothing but space in front of him, and fired a rocket off his left foot past Will Hopkins in net 50 seconds in to the game.
Mattoon never recovered, falling 2-0 to Effingham as Katz added a second goal in the second half.
"It's a really good feeling just to get one or even if someone else scores, but to get two is one of the best feelings in the world," Katz said. "Mattoon's always one of our biggest rivals... and we came out shooting."
For the Hearts, coming off their best season in school history with 13 wins, it was the kind of fast start coach Aaron Witges was looking for.
It was maybe even too fast for the coach to comprehend.
"We're going through scenarios, talking with kids on the bench, I turn around and Tyler rips it home. I kind of had a hard time believing that happened that quickly," he said. "That's probably the first and only time we played the ball all the way across in front of the net from right to left."