The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Boys Soccer Season Kicks Into Gear

Casey Stover
Senior Nate Loftus plays in the Tigers’ first home game of the 2023 season on Aug. 7 against Gibault Catholic.

The boys soccer team lost in penalty kicks last night after a season packed with wins.

The Tigers won their first game of the week 1-0 on Tuesday against long-time rival, the O’Fallon Panthers. Both teams went into the game undefeated in their conference leagues.

The first half progressed slowly, with an almost equal amount of possession between teams and multiple yellow cards. After a second half riddled with missed shots and attempts, primarily on behalf of EHS, senior Liam McLean secured the winning goal with less than 30 seconds left in the game.

“I was excited…happy for the team,” senior Nate Loftus said after the game. “Morale is definitely up.”

During Thursday night’s action-packed game against the Belleville West Maroons, the Tigers took the lead 38 minutes into the first half after a goal by senior Blye Brickman. However, the Maroons turned the game back around with three minutes left in the second half and eventually won in penalty kicks.

This is the Tigers’ first loss since their game against West Aurora on Sept. 1, which ended 3-1, and only their third loss in the season overall. The team had kept a five-game winning streak prior to Thursday.

Having to follow up last season’s sectional win, Loftus said with the team’s “work rate” and “intensity,” he’s confident in their ability to do it again.

“There’s definitely a little bit of pressure living up to what last year’s team accomplished, but I think we definitely can,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll let the pressure get to us.”

Head coach Mark Heiderscheid said the team’s goal this season is to play “attractive soccer.” In practice, they’ve been prioritizing basic shooting drills and playing five on five games to help further develop the “attacking phase” of a game.

“We work on our team shape each year and our ability to possess the ball in order to be the team that controls the flow of the game,” he said.

Coach Heiderscheid said this year’s team is “deeper” than the previous one. Loftus credits this to their work ethic and to how connected all the players are.

In terms of differences in coaching approach, coach Heiderscheid’s been rotating through different midfielders and defenders during games, something he didn’t do last year.

“Players have more energy when they play in the next [game] and are likely not to be as bruised,” he said.

The team’s next game is on Saturday, Sept. 16 against the Marquette Catholic Explorers.