The Edwardsville Tigers kept their loss column clean and gave themselves a leg up on a Southwestern Conference championship Tuesday.
Edwardsville shut out Madison County rival Collinsville, 4-0.
The Tigers improved to 8-0-2 and have just two more conference games in the final month of the season.
“This is a good one to win, but it’s also one you don’t want to read too much into,” said Edwardsville coach Mark Heiderscheid. “We did a good job with Collinsville, but I think a lot of that is because we got the two quick early goals. Collinsville did a great job working throughout the contest. It was a much more challenging game than 4-0 reflects.”
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Edwardsville took the lead 13 minutes into the game.
Riley Patterson — a three-star college football recruit who’s committed as a place kicker at the University of Memphis — put a rocket on goal that Collinsville goalie Brett Niedzwiecki was able to stop. He couldn’t control the ball, however, and Michael Picchiotti was there to put it in the net.
“Riley has been launching those shots all year,” Picchiotti said. “You just know when he hits it there’s a chance the goalie isn’t going to be able to save it because his ball has a lot of movement and he hits it really hard. I was just ready for the follow up because I knew it was coming.”
It took Patterson less than two minutes to put Collinsville in a 2-0 hole when he found the upper right corner of the goal with a left-footed laser shot from just outside the goalie box.
“That was a bomb,” Heiderscheid said. “There’s a reason he’s ranked as high as he is as a football kicker. He cracks the heck out of it. He’s a great football kicker, but he’s also an academy soccer player for us since he was 12 or 13 years old. He’s pretty good at this sport, too.”
Collinsville controlled possession for much of the remaining 20 minutes of the first half, though the Edwardsville defense didn’t let the ball get too close to goalie Daniel Picchiotti.
The Kahoks got their best chance to score 39 seconds before the intermission when a yellow card set up a free shot from just outside of the Tigers’ goal box. Nick Suria took the shot but it sailed high and wide of the goal.
Collinsville’s prospects for a comeback took a big blow almost as soon as the second half started.
Edwardsville’s Michael Glisson broke away with a one-on-one with the Niedzwiecki, but was taken down by Collinsville’s Brendan Peterson inside the box to draw a penalty kick.
Niedzwiecki made an outstanding save to his left — and several others after the penalty — but the Kahoks were left a man short for the rest of the game. Peterson also will have to sit out the Kahoks’ next game.
“Niedzwiecki was the no. 1 goalie in our area last year as a junior and, honestly, there is that possibility that a big save can turn the momentum,” Heiderscheid. “At 2-0 and you have a penalty kick that’s missed can almost be as much a detriment as an assett. It’s a good thing we got that other goal because otherwise it’s a much more challenging game.”
The Tigers made the score 3-0 with 26:53 left when Glisson scored on a header off a ball sent from the corner by Michael Picchiotti. They added another at 12:38 when Bayne Noll got a break away and beat Niedzwiecki one-on-one.
Collinsville (3-4 overall, 2-1 conference) next faces Althoff at McKendree University on Thursday at 5 p.m. Edwardsville travels to Normal West on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.