After a pair of one-goal losses to open the season against Urbana and River Hill, coach Joey Osborne and Glenelg were looking for something positive to build on against Hammond Wednesday.
It took until late in the second half, but the Gladiators got what they were looking for.
Scoring twice within a span of three minutes in the waning minutes of regulation, Glenelg earned a 2-0 shutout victory over the visiting Golden Bears.
“Those first couple games were a situation where I thought we played fairly well but didn't get the results we wanted. So it was trying to get ourselves over that hump and to have that mindset of giving that little extra effort to pull one out,” Osborne said. “We tried to focus on the positives and that if we continued to play like we were, good things would happen.
“And, today, they did.”
Glenelg (1-1, 1-2) and Hammond (0-2, 0-4) spent the majority of the game Wednesday deadlocked in a scoreless game. Both teams had a handful of chances in the opening half, but the majority of play occurred in the midfield.
Osborne said his group was in need of a little more urgency.
“We were looking for a little more effort,” Osborne said. “I felt like we had some control in the first half, but in that final third we couldn't put things together. The link wasn't there. I felt like if we had a little more getting forward from our midfielders, our forwards coming back a little more to help, it would create a few more chances for us and eventually something was going to go in.”
The intensity picked up out of intermission for the Gladiators, yielding several quality scoring chances, but there weren’t any tangible results right away. Hammond goalie Bryce Kohlheim (7 saves) made several big stops to keep the game tied.
It wasn’t until there were roughly 14 minutes left that senior Andrew Heisig stepped up and made something happen.
Dribbling through traffic on the right side, Heisig got himself into the box and into scoring position before being fouled to set up a penalty kick.
“I knew I had crossed it the last few times I had gotten the ball and I just wanted to mix it up. I knew the cut in was there, so I cut inside toward the goal and the guy took me out,” Heisig said.
He proceeded to deliver a hard shot into the left side of the net on the PK for a 1-0 lead with 13:30 left in regulation.
Riding that momentum, Glenelg struck again with 10:56 remaining when Dylan DuBeau got on the end of a corner kick from Brady Barajas and finished to make it a two-goal game.
“I think it’s definitely one of those things where we scored and then we could continue to build off of it,” Osborne said. “We had some bounces just miss, so finally once one went in the guys had that confidence that things might finally start to go our way.”
Hammond, which is still looking for its first goal of the season, wasn’t able to get anything back in the closing minutes. Despite the loss, though, coach Brett Cutler said afterward that he’s pleased with the progress the team is making after a rough first few games.
“Much better today for us. We only made it 27 minutes in against Urbana, 13 minutes in against Oakdale, and then halftime against Wilde Lake before we conceded,” Cutler said. “So from that perspective, making it 60 to 65 minutes today with not giving up goals was great. They certainly had more chances than us, but we were in it.”
Glenelg 2, Hammond 0
Goals: G – Heisig, DuBeau.
Assist: G – Barajas.
Saves: G – LeFevre 2; Ha – Kohlheim 7.