Belleville West again satisfied its insatiable hunger for goals Monday night.
The Maroons struck four times in the first 12 1/2 minutes and routed Gibault 7-1 in a nonconference game. The seven goals all came from different players.
“We’ve relied on Sydnee (Carroll) a lot the last three years, but this year more than any year, we’ve got a lot of girls being able to step up and put the ball in the back of the net,” Maroons coach Jason Mathenia said. “That relieves a little pressure off her and also provides us balance and stability all over the rest of the field.”
The Maroons (3-0-1) led 5-0 at halftime on goals from junior Amelia Coyne, Tastad, sophomore Jamie Adams, Carroll and sophomore Kacie Kinnikin. Freshmen Taylor Mathenia, the coach’s daughter, and Melanie Kulig scored in the second half. West has outscored its opponents 19-2, producing at least six goals in three of four games.
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Coyne set the tone by scoring 30 seconds into the match on a cross from Adams, who recorded two assists. Tastad made it 2-0 off a corner kick from sophomore Lexi Miller at 7 minutes, 44 seconds, and Adams scored from Kinnikin at 10:11 on an easy one-on-one opportunity against Hawks junior goalie Abbie Meyer as West’s lead grew to 3-0.
Meyer has been pressed into service because of season-ending injuries to sophomore Kelly Dooley, who suffered a broken cheekbone and finger in a collision against Waterloo on Saturday.
Carroll’s goal from Coyne made it 4-0 at 12:30, and Kinnikin’s goal after a 50-yard run boosted the margin to 5-0 at 24:20.
“The challenge we threw out there to them tonight is, ‘How quickly can you end this game?’” Jason Mathenia said. “They came out strong. We got the ball first, we went at them and scored 30 seconds in. We had three in the next three, four, five minutes. So they stepped up to that challenge.”
Gibault (3-2) played appreciably better in the second half, keeping the Maroons off the board until Taylor Mathenia’s goal from Adams at 66:52 made it 6-0. Kuleg followed with West’s final goal of the game, at 69:23, making it 7-0.
The Hawks’ goal came from senior Liz Kuerz at 75:50, as she finished in a scrum in front of the right post on a corner kick from junior Abby Hasenstab.
“I told them to fight,” Hawks coach Matt Reeb said. “They hung their heads in the first half. (West) jumped up on us quick and we buried our heads, and that’s not why we play this schedule. That’s not why we play (West). We know they’re a very talented team. Going in, we’re going to be the underdog, by far.
“But we fought in the second half. In the second half, the scoreboard said 2-1, and that’s what I’m looking for. That’s what I was looking for the whole game. We did give a better effort in the second half.”
Reeb said Meyer, with more playing time, could develop into a capable keeper. Meyer was in some near-impossible situations early in the game as the Hawks’ defense broke down repeatedly against the balanced Maroons.
“She’ll have to get better,” Reeb said. “She’s going to be forced into it and she’s going to be forced to get better. But she’s an athlete and she’ll figure it out quickly. She’s a basketball player and a good athlete. We’re also looking forward to one of our best players getting back, our center mid, Abby Phelps. That will give us a little of a boost, too.”
Despite his team’s fast start, which includes a tie against state power Naperville Central, Mathenia said the season is too young to make bold predictions, even within the Southwestern Conference.
“We’ve got a pretty young team,” he said. “We’ve got three or four freshmen out there at one time and three sophomores out there at one time, with the senior leadership we’ve got. It’s a great mix of players that we have.
“Obviously, Collinsville is doing well (in the league) and Edwardsville’s got a great tradition. To be honest, I don’t know (where we fit) at this point. It’s just really early in the season.”