Mt. Pleasant plays at summer soccer showcase
BURLINGTON — The Mt. Pleasant boys’ soccer team played a few offseason matches this weekend as they competed in the Adidas Boys’ Summer Soccer Showcase in Burlington.
The Panthers — who lost a number of players to graduation, including four-year keeper Michael Alderson and all-state honoree Bo Vitale — struggled early in the showcase, dropping their first three matches and going scoreless against some tough competition.
However, they came back in their final matches to finish 3-2 on the weekend.
On Friday, Mt. Pleasant played in two matches, losing the first by a score of 5-0 to Rockwood Summit (St. Louis, Mo.) and the second to Joliet (Ill.) Central, 7-0.
Their first match on Saturday was also a shutout, as they fell 3-0 to Sacred Heart (Sedalia, Mo.).
“We lost first three games, and didn’t score a goal, so we were a little worried about that aspect — moreso not scoring than losing games,” Coach Neil Schmitz said. “The two teams we played Friday were very good, but I thought we played well on Saturday. We played a lot better.”
In the Saturday afternoon game, the Panthers still couldn’t find the back of the net in regulation — but neither could their opponent, Quincy (Ill.) High No. 2, as the new Mt. Pleasant keeper, Noah Brown, and the Panther defense didn’t allow a single goal in either half of the match.
“We went straight to penalty kicks after the two 30-minute halves, and were able to make three of four, so we were pretty excited about that,” Schmitz said. “That was our first win of weekend, and it carried over Sunday morning, when we played what was easily our best game.”
The Panthers defeated Earlville (Ill.)-Leland High in their fifth and final showcase match, winning by a score of 4-2.
Jayden McKenzie, who is going into his junior year, and Nhut Le, who will be a senior, took turns scoring and combined for all four goals. McKenzie scored the Panthers’ first goal of the weekend, as well as the third, and Le scored the second and final Panther goals of the match.
“I was very encouraged by our play in the last two games,” Schmitz said.