Boys shock Morton

Bryan Veginski
Trying to clear it out: Washington sophomore Thomas Alt, No. 20, looks to get the ball past Morton’s Adam Bazzetta during the second half of a Mid-Illini Conference boys soccer game Saturday. The Panthers prevailed at home, 2-1.

The Washington boys soccer team scored early and often Oct. 6 in a drubbing of Limestone.

The Panthers sent the Rockets back to Bartonville with a 7-1 Mid-Illini Conference loss as Toni Ramadani had a hat trick.

All of Ramadani’s goals came in the first half as Washington built a 4-0 lead.

Assists on the scoring plays went to Tyler Clark Jacob Burd (two).

The other Panther first-half tally was off the foot of Ryan Staley.

Jacob Quinn increased the margin to 5-0 on Burd’s third assist.

Grant Wiseman added to Washington’s haul in the 53rd minute before Clark answered Limestone’s lone goal with one of his own.

Goalkeeper Nick Garrison did not have to face many Rocket shots as the Panthers swept the season series.

WCHS 3, Pekin 3

The Panthers and Dragons remained in a stalemate after the teams’ second boys soccer match of the season.

Washington tied Pekin for the second time Thursday in Mid-Illini play as Caleb Cordts scored with just three seconds left for the home team.

“We had a couple mistakes that cost us in that game,” WCHS head coach Jeff Brooks said.

Ramadani tied the game halfway through the first half, then assisted on Quinn’s go-ahead score in the 26th minute.

Pekin evened the contest at Coal Miners’ Field before halftime and it stayed 2-2 until the last 10 minutes.

Tyler Clark’s tally with less than nine minutes left vaulted the Panthers into the  lead until Pekin’s late heroics.

Two days earlier, the Dragons shocked previously-unbeaten Dunlap in a 1-0 final.

WCHS 2, Morton 1

The Panthers celebrated their biggest victory of the season Saturday morning.

Washington (12-5-3, 6-3-2) handed the Potters their first loss of the conference season and nullified Morton’s advantage at the top of the standings.

The win also locked up third place in the M-I for the Panthers, who were scheduled to conclude the regular season yesterday at East Peoria.

Washington trailed 1-0 at home until late in the second half.

“It was a great finish,” Brooks said. “We held our composure. We stayed disciplined, we didn’t panic.”

With that approach, the boys started to win more balls.

Ramadani beat a couple Potter defenders in muddy conditions for the equalizer in the 65th minute on a Clark helper.

Ramadani is one of the area leaders in goals and assists and Clark is in the upper echelon in assists.

On a free kick with 1:24 left, Panther Jacob Burd found the net for the game-winning score.

Washington set up a fake cross and Burd put the ball over the top of the Morton defensive wall.

Garrison made a half-dozen saves as Washington keeper. Brooks credited him for being aggressive coming off his line.

“Our defense did a tremendous job,” said Brooks, mentioning Zach Peterson as one of the players who made some big plays in the back. 

Morton, which came in 8-0-2, was trying to clinch at least a share of its second league title in a row.

“This gives us a little confidence going into the regional,” said Brooks.

Washington will have a week to prepare for its postseason opener against Dunlap.

“We’re not going to be happy unless we win the regional this year,” said Brooks.

The Panthers have the best overall record of any Mid-Illini team.