The East-Alton Wood River Oilers pose with the Class 1A Metro East Lutheran Regional plaque Saturday after blanking Greenville 1-0.
EA-WR's Brennan Augustyn heads the winning shot into the upper right corner of the goal off a throw-in by Cameron Foust in the second half Saturday.
EA-WR junior David Barrett kicks the ball over the head of Greenville players.
EA-WR senior Devon Gilreath heads the ball away from Greenville senior Mitchell Cole.
EDWARDSVILLE — The East Alton-Wood River Oilers claimed their first regional championship in school history Saturday in the Class 1A Metro East Lutheran Regional, narrowly defeating the Greenville Comets 1-0. The Comets won their fourth regional title in 14 years in 2013.
"We executed our plan to perfection," Greenville head coach Michael Young said. "We knew that the Oilers' forwards, No. 11 (Brennan Augustyn) and 27 (David Barrett) would be hard to handle, we had a game plan for them to keep them out of the equation as much as possible. We were pretty evenly matched. My offense and defense did a heck of a job, but someone has to win and someone has to lose, tonight it didn't go our way."
The first half was scoreless with both teams playing a physical game. The Comets had a scoring chance early on, but were called offsides as senior Mitchell Cole made a charge for the EA-WR goal.
EA-WR senior Brennan Augustyn attempted to charge the Comets' goaltender to shake him up during an Oiler scoring opportunity, but was given a yellow card for his efforts when contact was made with 1:50 remaining on the clock in the first half.
The second half included the deciding moment when EA-WR junior Cameron Foust took the ball out of bounds for a throw in and found Augustyn in front of the goal. Augustyn showed off his vertical height as he jumped up to make contact and was able to head the ball into the goal with 19:52 remaining on the clock to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Oilers.
The throw in from Foust came as a bit of a surprise for EA-WR head coach Mike Lawson.
"We really didn't know that Cameron could throw that far until last week," Lawson said. "We knew he had a solid throw, but the distance is impressive."
The assist by Foust also came as a surprise to the Comets' bench.
"We certainly didn't expect the Oilers to get an assist off a throw in," Young said. "The Oilers are a team that has traditionally been down, but the last couple years they've done a great job rebuilding the program. It's good to see a team build up. We want to compete against teams that are going to make a game out of it. I'm proud for them to see how far they've come in recent years."
The Oilers were able to hold off the Comets for the remaining 19:52 to secure the victory and claim the regional title.
"This is the first regional title for the soccer team in the history of the school, my first title as a coach, I'm really proud of the boys," Lawson said. "I think this helps validate the process we've tried to get going. Jesse and I are trying to teach them how to play the game correctly, to understand formations, communicate and how to have good movement on the field. They (Oilers) have coaches who care about them as players and care about the sport of soccer. They've been willing to learn."
The last few years the Oiler soccer team has grown and become a competitive program and has continually improved. EA-WR was knocked out of the regional early by a 1-0 loss to the Marquette Catholic Explorers in 2013.
"We came so close last year, winning tonight almost feels like a dream," Augustyn said. "I saw the throw come in from Cameron, I went up for it and was able to direct it and find the corner. I couldn't believe it, all I could do was run and scream down the field to my teammates. This definitely ranks No. 1 in my high school career."
The Oilers were greeted after the game by family, friends and fans to share in the celebration, while the players took a moment to let the victory sink in.
"I'm actually really sore right now," said junior forward David Barrett. "Our second half was much better, but I love my squad, Bruh. I have to say I love and respect Brennan Augustyn. We're all going to Steak n' Shake."
EA-WR senior Hobie Hobart added, "We want to keep the momentum, we are a squad, Bruh."
The Oilers will return to MELHS at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to face off with Trenton Wesclin in the Class 1A MELHS Sectional semifinals.