For the first time all year, Newton’s high-powered offense was held scoreless in a 1-0 loss to Mattoon Friday afternoon during the 20th Annual Varsity Boys Soccer Tournament.
The loss leaves the Eagles at 14-2 while the Green Wave go to 10-3-1.
Eagles’ standout Carder Reich had two quality shots within 10 yards early in the first half but couldn’t put either behind Mattoon goalkeeper Jason Skoocy.
“Yeah, unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalize. We were just a touch off,” Newton varsity head coach Matt Creadore said. “We were a step off on the one, and we were there just couldn’t get to it.”
With just under nine minutes remaining in the first half, Mattoon’s Trent Hettinger took a pass from Quincy Hamilton at midfield and sped down the right sideline kicking out the ball ahead of the Eagle defender. He corralled his shot around a Newton defender before it bounced off the left goalpost and into the net for the only goal of the game.
“Not to discount the goal, but we were on it,” Creadore said. “We knew they were quality. We knew what they had.”
While Mattoon’s defense clogged the middle denying Reich opportunities, Gage Reynolds had quality chances of his own in the first half, which the Green Wave defensemen limited.
“We kept the same mindset and tried to beat them up top like we normally do,” Creadore said. “We were playing too much over and not enough under; they knew what we had and marked him (Reich) well.”
Newton continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. against a 16-0-1 Lincoln squad before finishing up at noon against 5-11 Olney.
“Tough one tomorrow with Lincoln,” Creadore said. “We put this on our schedule for a reason; to brush up for regionals and to plug up some of the holes we have.”