GRANITE CITY — Junior forward Chase Jones continued to serve as the Triad Knights primary offensive weapon in Thursday night’s nonconference soccer contest at Granite City.
Jones seemed unstoppable in scoring all three of Triad’s goals in the 3-2 win. The junior has seven goals in the still young 2015 campaign.
“He’s a hard worker and he’s usually double teamed,” Triad coach Jim Jackson said. “He kept pushing and pushing and got that third goal.”
Jones talked of the physically grueling nature of the contest and said he “had to keep sprinting on every goal.”
The contest, tied 2-2 at halftime, tested both teams' stamina in the second half, as both the Knights and the Warriors pushed the ball up the field time and again. Jones scored the winning goal with 1:04 left to play in the match. He took control of the ball approximately 15-yards from Granite City’s (0-3-2) goal, dribbled past a few Warrior defenders and then fired off a shot that sent the ball into the back of the net.
Triad improves to 2-3-1 with the victory. Jackson spoke of the magnitude of the win over a team of Granite City’s stature — a program with eight state championships.
“I told the boys yesterday that this is one of the most storied programs in Illinois,” he said. “To come down here with this type of history, it’s a big win.”
Jackson thought his team’s conditioning came through in the second half.
“This kids worked hard over the summer,” he said. “We’re still not there in conditioning, with the weather, it’s so hot. But I think our kids had the edge in conditioning and it paid off in the end.”
The contest featured a lot of early scoring. Granite City’s Sam Ortiz scored on a header at the 3:08 mark to give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage, but Jones responded with a goal at the 12:52 mark.
Freshman Knight defender Grant Keller put the ball in play on a corner kick and Jones scored on a head ball just a few yards from the goal. Jim Jackson felt Jones’ first goal to be more important than the third because of the momentum boost Triad received.
Jones struck again at the 18:14 mark to make the score 2-1 Triad. But the Knights’ lead would be short lived, as forward Nathan Tanthavong netted a goal just two minutes and two seconds later to make the score 2-2.
Tanthavong, dribbling the ball toward Triad’s goal, beat a few Knight defenders, and capped the play off with a successful shot just a few yards from Triad’s goal.
Granite City lost three players to injury — Kaleb Chism, Eli Succarotte and Alexander Moore — in Tuesday’s 2-2 tie against Alton.
“These are three kids who have been in the starting lineup,” Granite City coach Kenny Jackson said. “But this is not an excuse. We really need to shore up our defense.”
Next up for the Warriors is a contest at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Springfield. They return to Southwestern Conference action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Belleville West.