EFFINGHAM — Mattoon lost two of the previous three games against Effingham this season and tied the most recent one, but figured out how to beat Effingham on Wednesday in a 2-0 win.
The Mattoon defense adjusted to limit Effingham's scoring opportunities, shutting out the Flaming Hearts and limiting junior Tyler Katz, who scored two goals against Mattoon in the teams' first contest.
“It's tough playing a team four times in a year,” Effingham head coach Aaron Witges said. “That takes away the elements of surprise. They definitely made some adjustments.”
Effingham's scoring chances came few and far between, but the Hearts mishit two late shots and sailed others over the goal post, but opportunities weren't the same as the ones they got in past wins over Mattoon. The Hearts only had three shots on goal.
“Their defense all year, when we got it into the box, they've been really good at shutting us down,” Witges said. “When we got out goals this year, they were on fast-break opportunities.”
Witges said he thought his team did a good job of keeping the pressure on the Mattoon defense, even after missing offensive opportunities.
Mattoon pressured Effingham's defense to the point of scoring two goals, including a first half goal off the foot of Chase Harvey.
Harvey found the ball at his feet after a throw-in deep in the Effingham zone. He dribbled around a defender, with his back to the goal, and hooked a ball over goalkeeper Dalton Steele's head.
“The ball was at his shoulders, he turned, spun and hit a line drive,” Witges said. “You tip your hat at that point.”
Harvey scored with 20:58 left in the first half. Mattoon's Daniel Ferguson scored the Green Wave's second goal with 27:33 left in the second half.