BETHALTO – Kaleb Bassett’s first shot as a member of the Civic Memorial High boys’ soccer team looked like a bolt of lightning Monday.
“It felt really good,” said Bassett, a junior forward and transfer from Belleville West.
No wonder. The shot zipped past Roxana goalie Dawson Klunk just 1 minute, 59 seconds into the season-opening match for both teams at the Bethalto Sports Complex.
“That’s unbelievable,” CM coach Derek Jarman said of Bassett’s first-shot, first-goal scenario. “He’s the real deal.”
Bassett followed with another goal in the 10th minute and the Eagles earned their wings. They overpowered Roxana, 7-0, in nonconference competition and spoiled the debut of Shells’ coach Jamie Futrell, a 2002 Roxana High graduate.
“I’ve got to give it to them (Eagles). They have a talented team,” Futrell said. “And it was a tough matchup for us. We’re rebuilding and trying to get the guys to buy into a new coach.”
The Eagles’ talent level has increased dramatically with Bassett on their side. Teammate Trevor Panyik also scored twice, while Mikey Stevenson, Kameron Denney and Keante Hardimon also recorded goals. Two of CM’s scores came when Shells kicked the ball into their own net.
Colin Hall, Nic Vaughn and Stevenson contributed assists to make things easy for CM goalie Jacoby Robinson. He didn’t need to make a save. The Eagles accounted for 30 shots and 7 corners, or 6 more than the Shells.
“I thought we played very well,” Bassett said. “We had some good passes, good moments and we capitalized on things. And it was an amazing feeling for me to be out on the pitch again.”
Jarman liked what he saw. “It’s a very athletic team and having Kaleb on it makes it more athletic. He makes everybody around him better. There’s a different sound coming from his foot when he hits the ball.
“He’s a game-changer.”
Bassett gets his talent naturally. Dad Roshan was an outstanding kicker at CM and his mom, Lindsay Kennedy-Eversmeyer, was a top player at Alton High.
“Kaleb really wants to fit in here and he plays well with these guys,” Jarman said. “He wants to change the culture here.”
It’s a culture of winning the Eagles seek to embrace. They went 2-16-1 last fall in Jarman’s first season as their head coach.
In fact, CM has gone a composite 6-50-3 the past three years. The Eagles managed two wins each of those seasons. They last logged a winning record in 2011, when they were 11-9-2 for coach Don Woelfel.
Next up for the Eagles is a date Wednesday against Wesclin at Freeburg in a part of the Metro Cup. CM welcomes Staunton on Aug. 30 before opening Mississippi Valley Conference competition Sept. 1 at Highland. They’ll play host to Valley rival and defending Class 2A IHSA champion Waterloo on Sept. 7.
Roxana goes to Staunton on Thursday and will be aiming to rebound. Sophomore goalie Dawson Klunk did the best he could to thwart CM in the opener. Klunk made 13 saves.
“Our goalie stood on his head to make a few of those saves,” Futrell said. “I’m very proud of the way he played because two of (their) goals were own goals.”
He added, “They (Eagles) also scored on a coupIe of long shots. I thought we didn’t get hammered in the box. That was a positive point for us.”
Bassett’s two scores early in the match enabled CM to build a 4-0 advantage by halftime. They added three more the second half, including the final one in the 77th minute.
CM 7, ROXANA 0
Roxana 0 0 – 0
CM 4 3 – 7
CM – Kaleb Bassett (Colin Hall), 2nd minute;
CM – Bassett (Mikey Stevenson), 10th minute;
CM – Trevor Panyik (unassisted), 27th minute;
CM – Kameron Denney (unassisted, own goal), 35th minute;
CM – Keante Hardimon (unassisted), 58th minute;
CM – Paynik (unassisted, own goal), 72nd minute;
CM – Stevenson (Nic Vaughn), 77th minute.
Shots: CM 30, Roxana 1
Corner kicks: CM 7, Roxana 1
Saves: Dawson Klunk (Roxana) 13, Jacoby Robinson (CM) 0