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VANDALIA – It appeared the Vandals were on their way to the biggest win in school history.
At halftime on Saturday, Vandalia and Carlinville were mired in a 1-1 tie, but the Vandals didn’t come out of the break with the same excitement as they had in the first half, allowing three goals in a 4-1 South Central Conference loss.
“I am hoping that we are expecting to compete with these teams, and we did,” said coach Walt Kinney. “We feel that any team we play against, we are going to hang with them, and in the first half, we sure did.
“Last year, they wiped the floor with us (12-0 loss),” he said. “They scored a quick goal today, but we came back and scored to give us a feeling that we could compete.”
Craig Spearman assisted himself on the score, controlling a header and turning it into a goal for his third of the season, and the team’s 25th.
But Carlinville – perennially one of the best teams on Vandalia’s schedule – was on offense for almost all of the second half, scoring three goals in a 13-minute span. Junior goalie Blake Torbeck had 12 saves.
“We lost three or four steps in the second half and couldn’t put anything together,” Kinney said. “Carlinville kept playing, so hats off to them for winning the second half.”
With a win, Vandalia (2-11-2) would have won consecutive games for the first time in program history after having defeated Altamont, 2-1, last Thursday.
Junior Matt Rademacher scored twice – with one goal assisted by junior Austin Durbin – for the Vandals in that game, and Kinney said every player showed a will to win.
“We came out – starting with minute one – wanting that win, and it lasted the whole game,” he said. “We got 100-percent hustle out of everybody, and our defense was very solid.”
Torbeck stopped 15 balls during the game.
On Monday, Vandalia took another loss, falling 5-0 at Carlyle. Torbeck had 11 saves in the game.
On Tuesday, the Vandals dropped a 4-1 contest at Greenville.
Senior Colin Ledbetter assisted Rademacher on the team's goal, and Torbeck had 13 saves.
With the season winding down, the Vandals will be celebrating their senior class on Thursday, during halftime of the final game of the season.
Players to be recognized are: Colin Ledbetter, Arika Craig, Raj Patal, Dalton Nichols and Levi Kinkead.
And if they can repeat their performance from Saturday, they may tie the program record for wins in a season.
“Staunton played Carlinville the other day and went to two overtimes and penalty kicks,” Kinney said. “We are hoping that it’s the same type of game, because we are looking for another win – we aren’t satisfied with two.”
The regular season concludes with a match at Lincolnwood next Tuesday, and the fifth-seeded Vandals will meet No. 4 Pana at Pana High School in the opening round of the regional tournament next Friday.
Pana defeated Vandalia, 4-3, in the season-opener.
Tuesday, Oct. 1
Goals: Rademacher, 1.
Assists: Ledbetter, 1.
Saves: Torbeck, 13
Record: 2-11-2 (1-7-0 SCC)
Monday, Sept. 30
Saves: Torbeck, 11.
Saturday, Sept. 28
Goal: Spearman, 1.
Saves: Torbeck, 12
Record: 2-9-2 (1-6-0 SCC)
Thursday, Sept. 26
Goals: Rademacher, 2.
Assist: Durbin, 1.
Saves: Torbeck, 15.
Wednesday, Sept. 25
Saves: Torbeck, 8