PINCKNEYVILLE — Steen Vaca Diez scored the only goal of the first half and the first goal in the second half to lead Anna-Jonesboro/Cobden to a 5-2 win over Pinckneyville in a non-conference boys soccer game Wednesday on the Panthers’ Senior Night.
"We needed a good second half," said Anna-Jonesboro/Cobden coach Mark Boomer. "We had good passing, good defense and we were talking. We’ve played like that the last couple games."
Anna-Jonesboro/Cobden won its third game in a row to improve to 11-4-3. The Wildcats will wind up the regular season with a home game against Carbondale on its Senior Night before hosting the Class 1A Regional on Saturday with Harrisburg playing at Massac County.
"We’re at the end of the season and we’re right where we should be," Boomer said. "
Pinckneyville ended the regular season with its second consecutive loss to drop to 8-12-2. The Panthers will next play at the A-J/C Regional on Wednesday in a rematch against the Wildcats at 4:30 p.m.
"We’ve played a lot of games the past two weeks when the temperatures were near 100 and I think that took its toll today," said Pinckneyville coach Jay Ray. "We have a week before we play, so we’re going to regroup, go watch some film and make some changes."
The first half saw few good scoring chances until Vaca Diez scored at the halfway mark. Five minutes later, Vaca Diez hit the right goal post and the score remained 1-0 at the half.
"It was a good team play all the way up to the cross pass from Carlos Valencia that came in," said Vaca Diez. "The keeper bobbled the pass and it came out to me. I tried to put it in once and he made the save, but I got the rebound and the ball right between his legs and it squirmed out the other side."
Anna-Jonesboro/Cobden took the second half kickoff and 1:21 later Vaca Diez took a throw-in from his brother Beto and beat Grant Tanner for his second goal of the game. For Vaca Dietz, it was the first career multi-goal game for the senior.
"It was a quick throw-in," Vaca Dietz said. "I turned and looked up and shot really quick and the goalie couldn’t get to it in time."
Vaca Diez missed a good chance to notch his first career hat trick 3:42 later, but his shot missed wide left by a few inches.
Five minutes and 38 seconds later, Blake Pena scored his 13th goal of the season on a dazzled individual effort that saw the senior take the ball down the right side before getting around a defender and beating Tanner.
With 29:30 remaining, sophomore Romeo Godinez scored his fourth goal of the season and 33 seconds later, Valencia scored his 13th goal of the season to up the lead to 5-0.
The Panthers broke senior Jacob Schaeffer’s bid for his fourth shutout when senior Derek Rohlfing stole the ball on the left side and scored with 18:48 left in the game.
Three minutes and 13 seconds later, Rohlfing almost scored again, but Schaefer made the save.
With 12:56 remaining, Rohlfing got the ball again on the right side before passing to Barrett Denny on the left side, who one-timed the ball to Will Epplin in the middle.
"The fans probably saw the prettiest goal of the year with (Epplin) volleying the ball out of the air about 20 yards out to put it into the upper corner," Ray said. "We also had some nice passing on that goal. That was pretty."