Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 16, 2012

Hearts begin postseason quest against familiar foe

Adam Spencer
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — After a thrilling 3-1 overtime victory on Saturday against Mt. Carmel in the Olney Regional, the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes are moving on to the sectionals.

Goals by Mitch Meinhart, Kyle Blievernicht and Ryan Westendorf pushed the Shoes past the Golden Aces and into this afternoon’s 4 p.m. Class 1A St. Anthony Sectional semifinal against Carlinville.

Teutopolis coach Dustin Jansen believes his team was boosted emotionally by Saturday’s dramatic win.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum coming out of a game like that,” he said.

But, in order to beat Carlinville today, Jansen added that his team can’t afford another slow start, like the one it had Saturday — 72 minutes to open the game before scoring.

“We have to play aggressive from the very beginning,” he said. “We need to play the first 10 minutes like we play the last 10 minutes.”

Blievernicht, a key to the Shoes’ offensive attack, has been slowed by a leg injury sustained earlier in the season.

But, Jansen said, Blievernicht should be just fine for the Carlinville game.

“It’s feeling good,” he said. “We really monitored it today during practice. It’s still bothering him, but he’s used to playing through pain.”

Defensively, Jansen said the Shoes need to play like they did on Saturday, when they allowed only one goal.

He added that goalkeeper Seth Belford, who had never played the sport before this year, just needs to keep playing the way he has been, and the Shoes will be fine.

“He held his composure very well on Saturday,” Jansen said.

If the Shoes win this afternoon, Jansen said there’s a good chance they’ll play Quincy Notre Dame in Friday’s sectionanl final, a team that beat Teutopolis earlier this season.

The Shoes are anxious to avenge that loss, but aren’t taking Carlinville lightly.

“Our players have a lot of drive,” Jansen said. “They want another crack at Quincy Notre Dame, but we’ve got to worry about Carlinville first.”

Effingham starts regionals

Earlier this season, the Hearts played Mt. Zion at Effingham High School, a 2-1 victory for the home team.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the Hearts will play the Braves again, this time in the Class 2A Mattoon Regional.

Effingham coach Aaron Witges said his team will benefit from having played Mt. Zion recently.

“It definitely helps having played them once before,” he said. “It was kind of a rainy day, but we probably played our best game as a team all year.”

After a 2011 campaign that saw the Hearts win only once all year, Witges said the atmosphere around Effingham soccer is much healthier this year.

“This season the mindset is completely different,” Witges said.

He added that teamwork will be the key to how far the Hearts advance this postseason.

“It’s simple,” Witges said. “If they work together, no one can stop us.”