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Aces soccer defeats Richland County in physical match

September 23, 2018

MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. -- Coach Ed Berberich has been challenging his squad to play through physicality and position themselves well with ball movement -- they took a strong step toward that in their 2-1 victory over Richland County on Thursday at Wabash Valley College.

In the first half RCHS played very aggressive on Mount Carmel (7-3) defensively, limiting their ball movement and the Aces appeared to come out somewhat sluggish. That changed in the 24th minute as sophomore Beau Stipp knocked in a goal to put the Aces ahead 1-0 in the midway part of the half.

“The beginning of the game we came out pretty slow, we weren’t aggressive to the ball, we were kind of on our heels all game,” coach Berberich spoke of his team. “They were pressuring us. As we got into the game, maybe 10-15 minutes in and that whole middle section of the first half until we got tired later in the half, we started picking it up a little bit.”

Richland County responded nine minutes later, however, as they scored in the 33rd minute to knot the game even at 1-1 heading into the half.

Following the break, Mount Carmel picked up the aggressiveness, with Ethan Belt exemplifying that with a goal in the 46th minute to increase the lead to 2-1 -- a score that would prove to be the final.

“Particularly the first 15-20 minutes of the second half, that’s what we can play like,” coach Berberich spoke of his team’s second half stretch. “They were much more aggressive, some of the most aggressive play I’ve seen out of them this year. At least especially against a team that’s competitive with us. I’ve seen them get aggressive with teams not as good, but it’s easy to do that. It’s when’s you’re getting pressured, can you give that back to the other team and they did that. So I was proud of them for that.”

The Aces remained the aggressor for much of the second half, until the mandatory water break due to the heat midway through the half, where Richland County entered desperation mode. Things became a little chippy between the two teams as RCHS’ attack became desperate and the Aces slowed things down to eat clock.

Things became a little scary in the 56th minute as Ace goalkeeper Tye Kanipe collided with a RCHS player on a corner kick and had to be taken out of the game. Kanipe briefly exited, returning about six minutes later in what proved to be not a serious as it looked. With no one set as a backup goalie, coach Berberich turned to sophomore Brady Decker in his stead, at least momentarily.

“It was a little scary when he was out,” coach Berberich said. “Brady volunteered to go back there, I appreciate that, but I don’t think he’s played a whole lot of goal. It was a little scary but luckily he didn’t have to make any stops or anything, they kept the ball away until Tye could get back in, so that was good.”

Having lost two of their last three games entering the match, Mount Carmel responded well following a brutal stretch of top Indiana opponents Washington and Jasper, as they appeared to bounce back extremely well this week -- first defeating Evansville Day 8-0, then capping it with the win against RCHS.

With the now two-game winning streak and improving to 7-3, they’ve officially steadied the ship and taken a step, but they still have a ways to go according to coach Berberich.

“One thing we’ve been struggling with is our intensity in practice and our pregame stuff,” coach Berberich said. “We’ve had a talk with them about it. I keep telling them they have tons of potential, but they’re really going to be as good as they want to be. If they want to be as good as they can be, they’re going to have to practice harder. I’m going to enjoy coaching them either way but I’ll be a little disappointed if they don’t start practicing harder because I know they can be even better than they’ve been.”

On Monday they’ll have an opportunity to extend their streak against conference foe Boonville, a game that had been rescheduled to Monday, Sept. 24 at 5:30 p.m. The Pioneers sit at 6-7-1 on the season and figure to be a prime candidate for Mount Carmel to steal a conference win against.

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