DECATUR — Hallie Niemerg’s debut season on the pitch has been a perfect one through two games.
Niemerg, a junior who is in her first year on Mattoon’s girls soccer team only because some friends convinced her to play, posted her second regulation straight shutout as the Green Wave moved to 2-0 with a 3-2 penalty kick victory over Charleston on Tuesday night in the St. Teresa Tournament in Decatur. She tallied three saves.
“She hasn’t faced a lot of shots, but her positioning has been good and she hasn’t given up any rebounds,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said.
Freshman Anna Jurka made the game-winning penalty kick. Kyah Eastin and Meah Butler also scored on penalty kicks. Ghere put Peyton Gill in at goalie after regulation ended.
"There wasn’t a lot of offense, but our defense was solid," Ghere said.
"It was two teams playing early in the season. There weren’t a lot of scoring chances."
Mattoon was forced to practice inside for two weeks because weather, making Tuesday’s game just the second time the Green Wave have played outdoors.
“We just said we’d figure it out on the fly,” Ghere said.
Charleston coach Josh Garrett praised the play of Gillian Oetting and the defense.
"We just couldn’t generate much of an effective offense today," he said. "It took us a bit to get in sync, and by the time we did, the game was over. Hopefully, we can regroup and get the win tomorrow.”
Mattoon will play Pana at 4:30 on Thursday in the tournament semifinals. Charleston will play Danville at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Pleasant Plains 1, St. Teresa 0
DECATUR — The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker in the St. Teresa Tournament semifinals.
Plains' Annie Burns scored the game's only goal in a tightly contested match. Plains goalie Emilie King had five saves and Bulldogs' goalie Makenzee Velchek had six saves.
"Even though we lost we had a pretty good game overall," St. Teresa coach Connor Smith said. "Pleasant Plains capitalized on their one good chance. We had chances as well, but we just couldn't capitalize on them."
St. Teresa (1-1) will play Monticello at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Rantoul 12, Maroa-Forsyth 3
DECATUR — It was an uncharacteristic performance to open the season for Maroa, which committed two errors and lost in a game played at Millikin's Workman Family Softball Field.
Rantoul had 15 hits to Maroa's two.
“We had two hits, struck out 12 times, threw the ball around, and had a couple errors," Maroa coach Jon Kidd said. "I’m not the smartest person in the world, but that usually doesn’t work versus any team, let alone a pitcher that had a lot of confidence today.
"We’ll continue to work to get better, and we know that’s not acceptable for a Maroa-Forsyth softball team.”
Sophomore Hallie Mitchell had a triple for one of the Trojans' two hits.