Belleville West took a significant step toward the city soccer championship Thursday night, breaking open a tight game at halftime en route to a 7-0 victory over visiting Althoff.
Taylor Vollmer and Carli Tastad had two goals apiece and Sydnee Carroll, Addison Hanusek and Taylor Mathenia scored one apiece as the Maroons improved to 7-1-2.
“It was 2-0 at halftime and there was a lot of back-and-forth play,” Maroons coach Jason Mathenia said. “It was pretty even for quite some time.”
Vollmer scored on a penalty kick off a handball by the Crusaders (4-7) to put the Maroons ahead 1-0, and Tastad scored on a header off a corner kick from Lexi Miller just before halftime, extending West’s lead to 2-0. It was the first of three assists for Miller.
The Maroons then erupted for three goals during a five-minute span in the second half, taking firm control of the contest.
“That was really the back-breaker for them,” Mathenia said. “I thought Althoff was a decent team. Their scores have been respectable as far as their losses are concerned. They’ve had some good, respectable scores.
“Despite their losing record, I thought they were a decent team. But with us starting as strong as we did at the beginning of the second half, unfortunately for them, that was the back-breaker.”
Hanusek opened the flurry with a goal inside the 18 off a feed from Miller to make it 3-0, and Tastad scored off another corner kick by Miller to make it 4-0. Carroll then scored with a high shot inside the right post off a throw-in from Amelia Coyne, pushing the gap to 5-0.
“Sydnee had one girl to beat, and she beat her quickly and dynamically,” Mathenia said. “Sydnee Caroll is explosive. She fired a left-footed shot to the far post, upper-90. It was a beautiful goal for her, because usually hers are tap-ins or breakaways, those type of goals. For her to be able to shoot a ball the way she did was very impressive tonight.”
Taylor Mathenia made it 6-0 with a goal on an assist from Jamie Adams. Vollmer completed West’s scoring with a penalty kick after Althoff was whistled for a foul in the box.
The Maroons have won their last two games since suffering their only loss of the season, a 5-0 decision to visiting Collinsville on April 7.
Mathenia said the Maroons’ margin of victory led him to feel “respectfully shocked.”
“I didn’t expect it to be that large (of a margin),” he said. “It was very shocking. That goes to my players for starting as strong as they did in the second half. We came out strong, we came out hard and threw several in the net. It’s hard to come back from that.
“Our girls played hard. They executed tonight and did what we asked them to do, especially in the early part of the second half. Then they continued to play well the rest of the game.”
Bailey Redden had the shutout in goal, but was not tested often.
“We had her for three saves,” Mathenia said. “But our back four kept them in check.”
The Maroons will play at Belleville East with the city title on the line April 29. The Lancers already have defeated Althoff twice this season, 2-1 and 5-0.