TEUTOPOLIS — Teutopolis shrugged off an early 1-0 deficit and cruised to a 4-1 season-opening victory against the Taylorville Tornadoes.
Taylorville scored at the 4:19 mark on a goal by Zach Allen, just getting by the outstretched fingertips of Teutopolis goalkeeper Seth Belford and off the goalpost into the net.
But the Wooden Shoes answered just 37 seconds later. Drew Kowalski was able to keep control of the ball despite contact from a diving Brayden Thomas in goal, and had an empty net to shoot into to tie the game at 1-1.
The Shoes kept pushing, with Andy Mersman making three nice runs at the goal but missing just wide every time. Kyle Blievernicht had a chance with 13 minutes left, but a diving Thomas made the save.
Teutopolis broke the tie just a minute later when Blievernicht ran his man off the ball and had a two-on-one with Justin Deters against Thomas. Blievernicht struck a perfect cross toward the far post, leaving an easy goal for Deters.
"The best play all day long was when Kyle Blievernicht crossed it over to Justin Deters," said coach Dustin Jansen. "It's good to see things like that."
The execution kept up for Teutopolis as the game went on. Blievernicht had another great chance just before the end of the half on a corner kick by Deters, but Thomas made a nice save.
Less than four minutes into the second half, Deters took the ball downfield and floated a perfect cross over the defense to a wide-open Mitch Meinhart, who had a wide open net for an easy header and a 3-1 lead.
"If a play's set up right, the goal's the easiest part," Jansen said. "Mitch played his position perfect. Justin had such a beautiful cross, he made Mitch's job easy. Mitch's job was easy, also, because he knew what he was doing."
The Wooden Shoes scored their fourth goal with 31:42 remaining after being awarded a penalty kick following an elbow in the penalty area. Blievernicht took the kick, and put one past Thomas on the right side.
Following the early Tornado goal, the defense tightened up and allowed the Wooden Shoe offense to control the pace of the game. Belford made five saves on the game, but never was challenged as seriously as he was on the opening goal for Taylorville.
Both Deters and Blievernicht had a goal and an assist, while Meinhart and Kowalski added goals of their own.
It was a solid opening effort for Teutopolis, who has just three seniors on the roster and one returning defender, junior Rachel Westendorf.
"We have a very young defensive line," Jansen said. "They had a little bit of miscommunication, they got caught up and the ball got crossed behind them. Not lack of talent or will back there. Communication is going to be key."
The challenges will pick up this week, as the Shoes take part in the Charleston Red and Gold Soccer Invitational. They open play Red Pool play Wednesday at 5 p.m. against Charleston at Charleston High School.
They play Mattoon Friday at 4 p.m. at N/S Field, and close pool play Saturday at noon against Effingham, playing again at the N/S Field.
Taylorville 1 0 1
Teutopolis 2 2 4
35:41 Taylorville goal, Zach Allen, 1-0
35:04 Teutopolis goal, Drew Kowalski, 1-1
11:56 Teutopolis goal, Justin Deters (Kyle Blievernicht assist), 2-1
36:39 Teutopolis goal, Mitch Meinhart (Justin Deters assist), 3-1
31:42 Teutopolis goal, Kyle Blievernicht PK, 4-1