BELLEVILLE — Ahmed Mahdi was winded when he came off the field in the second half of Thursday’s Region 24 soccer game at Southwestern Illinois College.
And with good reason, he’d just scored back-to-back goals in less than a minute to put Lewis and Clark Community College’s 6-0 victory on ice.
“You were tired, so you just scored another goal so I’d take you out,” a grinning L&C coach Ryan Hodge said to Mahdi.
All Mahdi could do was nod his head and take a seat and a drink after finishing with three goals.
Mahdi’s goals capped a day that saw the L&C men and the nationally ranked women’s team romp past their old rivals. The Trailblazers women won 5-0 earlier.
“We moved the ball really well,” Hodge said. “And we got off to a nice start. (SWIC) started playing much better, but we withstood it and then really finished strong.”
The Trailblazers men ran their record to 4-1 overall and 1-0 inside Region 24. SWIC is 0-5 and is still in search of its first goal of the season.
“The records don’t usually matter when these two teams play,” said Hodge, who has played as well a coached in SWIC-L&C games. “(SWIC) might be a little down, but they have talent and they’re well-coached, so we have to play with that in mind.”
The Trailblazers, who came in 21st in this week’s NJCAA national rankings, led 2-0 at halftime. Luke Mellon started the scoring in the second minute unassisted. Four minutes later, it was 2-0 after Reshaun Walkes poked the ball over the goal line when SWIC goalie Gabriel Pocas bobbled the ball.
“Reshaun is really playing well,” Hodge said. “He’s confident and he reads the game very well.”
Following the second LC goal, it was SWIC that dominated much of the possession time the rest of the half. But the Trailblazers defense held.
Halftime, as well as Mahdi’s first goal, put the skids on the Blue Storm momentum early in the second half.
Ahmed took a through pass from Osvaldo Guerrero inside the top of the penalty area, beat a defender and tapped the ball over the goal line in the 5th minute.
Zane Rowles scored on another through ball, this one from Camarri Johnson, in the 68th minute.
Then came Mahdi’s back-to-back goals to ice it. He scored in the 71st minute from an assist by Johnson. Then a minute later, he scored unassisted.
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