HINCKLEY – Senior Tate Sanderson scored two goals as he led the Hinckley-Big Rock soccer team past rival Indian Creek, 3-1.
Sanderson got the scoring started at the 32:07 mark in the first half to get the Royals (5-4, 1-1 Illinois Little Ten) off to a quick start. Less than eight minutes later, Carson Pickert added what would become the deciding goal to make it 2-0, Royals.
“We passed the ball well,” Royals coach Brad Phillips said. “Our defense is usually one of our stronger points. We played well tonight. Our keeper did a great job. Our defense kept their shape. If we get out of shape, we play poorly. But they did a great job and as always, they hustled a lot.”
Sanderson added his second goal to make it 3-0 less than three minutes into the second half. The elder statesman Sanderson said that this victory was very important to a Royals squad that is still a little green.
“We’re a young team,” Sanderson said. “We just came off a tough loss against Dixon. That was probably our best game until tonight. We came out with intensity, and I think that the future is bright for us. I think we can really go for the conference championship and a regional.”
Indian Creek (6-3, 0-2 Illinois Little Ten) managed to get on the board late thanks to a goal by Jaeden Bouma. By then though, it was too little too late.
“I thought we started out well passing and finding guys, but then early, on that went away pretty quickly,” Timberwolves coach Eric Schrader said. “It turned into a lot of one-on-one stuff where we tried to dribble through guys, and our passing was just right at them.”
By the numbers: The Royals struck early in both the first and second halves. None of their goals came after 15 minutes had passed in either half.
Beyond the box score: The Timberwolves almost made it a 2-1 game with about nine minutes to go in the first half when a scrum in front of Royals goalkeeper Hunter Swanson brought Swanson well out in front of the goal. The Royals defense denied several good looks at the goal, preserving the shutout for the time being.
They said it: “Last year, we had a tough loss against [Indian Creek],” Sanderson said. “So coming back this year and coming out with a victory feels great.”
Up next: The Royals will travel to Aurora to play IMSA at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Indian Creek will host the Earlville-Leland Paw Paw co-op at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.