WOOD RIVER – Devin Gilreath of East Alton-Wood River eagerly awaited Saturday’s boys’ home soccer match.
The Oilers patiently prepared for neighborhood foe Roxana in a nonconference meeting at Soccer Park.
“It’s definitely a rivalry and one that you want to win,” said Gilreath, a senior forward.
He did his part, scoring a goal in EA-WR’s 3-0 victory. The Oilers improved to 10-5 and secured their sixth victory over the Shells in the past seven matches. Rebuilding Roxana, which hasn’t scored against EA-WR in the past five contests, is 3-7-3.
Gilreath punched home a goal – his team-best 14th of the season – to give EA-WR a 1-0 lead just 8 minutes, 56 seconds into the match. Josh Turner assisted on it. Then teammate Brennan Augustyn logged an unassisted goal at 24:48 and the Oilers were on their way to a win at Victory Field.
Brandon Ennis scored with 46 seconds remaining in the match to put the finishing touches on it. Turner recorded another assist and goalie Nick Barrett didn’t have to make a save in registering a shutout.
“We started off with a couple of goals and we had a lot of opportunities,” Gilreath said.
EA-WR outshot Roxana 19-2 and had a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. The Shells didn’t get a shot on goal the second half. Keeper Austin Presley had a dozen saves to keep things in suspense much of the way.
“It was probably our best effort of the year,” first-year Roxana coach Steve Dohnal said. “We played hard, really played as a team and our goalie did a heck of a job. If we play with the same effort in the rest of of our other matches like we played today, that’d be great.”
He added, “We’re a very young team. We don’t have any seniors, making this season a work in progress. But I’m proud of the way they played with these guys (Oilers) today.”
The Oilers, who bowed to visiting Alton, 2-0, on Friday night, understand about making progress. They went 17-3-1 last season and are eyeing more good things this fall. EA-WR is cast in the Metro East Lutheran Class 1A Regional and the Oilers will be striving for their first postseason soccer title in school history.
“We have high hopes for this season and I think we can go further in the postseason than we did last year,” seventh-year EA-WR coach Mike Lawson said.
Gilreath could be a key to the Oilers’ success.
“I’m pretty happy with my year,” said Gilreath, a consistent scorer the past three years. “I’m having a decent season.”
Lawson said, “Devin was a 20-goal scorer his sophomore and junior seasons, so he has continued what he did the last two years. Devin has had to work harder for his goals this year because this team has to move the ball more to score.”
Come Wednesday, the Oilers will play at Marquette Catholic in another backyard rivalry. The Explorers are cast in their own 2A regional that includes Triad, Jersey, Civic Memorial and Highland.
EA-WR and Roxana are paired at Metro East Lutheran with Greenville and the host Knights. The survivor advances to the MELHS Class 1A Sectional. Collinsville plays host to the super-sectional.
EA-WR 3,ROXANA 0
Roxana 0 0 – 0
EA-WR 2 1 – 3
EA-WR – Gilreath (Turner), 8:56
EA-WR – Augustyn (unassisted), 24:48
EA-WR – Ennis (Turner), 79:14