By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — Eastern’s boys soccer team got a pair of netters after halftime to take a 3-1 victory over Kokomo on Tuesday in the season opener for both squads.
Jordan VanMatre scored Eastern’s opening goal just before halftime to stake the Comets to a 1-0 lead. Kokomo tied it after the break on a goal from Arland McIlrath but Darren Bellow scored to put the Comets back in front and Jordan VanMatre sealed the game with his second netter. Ethan Campbell dished out an assist and Eastern goalie Delon Tuggle had 14 saves.
“Kokomo came out and they were tough,” Eastern coach John VanMatre said. I’m glad we got the [first] goal on them when we did. We were getting a lot of opportunities and shots and we were getting the ball forward but we weren’t getting a good look at goal to get it in. That took a lot of pressure off.”
For the Kats, Keagan James assisted McIlrath’s equalizer. Caleb Cook had nine saves.
“We were not able to sustain pressure throughout the game, but it was a good run for the new players,” Kokomo coach Kismet Morrison said.
WESTERN 7, TAYLOR 0
The Panthers got off to a good start to the season with home shutout against Taylor in the season opener for both teams.
Jordan Roe had two goals and an assist to lead the Western offense. Chris Root had two goals. Mason May, Nic Downing and Blake Boring each scored once. Zac Simpson also dished out an assist. Edgar Sanchez had two saves in the first half and center fullback Downing also saved a ball on the line to hold the Titans off the scoreboard.
“Of course it’s good to start off with a good win but I thought the boys played well,” Western coach Mike Roe said. “This summer’s been kind of easy on us and our first game was in quite a bit of humdity, it was pretty hot out. We got off to a little bit of a rough start early but we hit our rhythm. For a first game I thought we did very well.”
Eastern 181, Tipton 195
Mallory Moreno carded a 43 to lead Eastern to the win on the par-35 front side at Tipton Municipal, the Comets’ first win of the season.
Savannah Palumbo (45), Maddie Williams (46) and Sarah Sharp (47) rounded out the Comets’ top four scores.
Eastern coach Mike Hamilton noted his players saw hard work in different facets of the game pay off with the win.
“I’m really elated with a 181. I figured we were good for maybe a 195 or a 190, but 181 really is a great score for us to have on our first win,” he said.
Tipton’s Lela Crawford won medalist honors with a 40.
MACONAQUAH DEF. OAK HILL 25-18, 25-14, 25-14
The Braves’ offense was in stride in the opening match of the season.
Michaela Walters had a dozen kills and five service points for Mac. Ally Exmeyer had 11 points, five kills and 18 digs. Jalyn Windsor had eight kills. Madison Turner had 15 service points. Emily Wilson had seven points. And Courtney Sarver had 10 digs.
“I was very impressed with our play,” Mac coach Jessica Metcalf said. “We came out and passed the ball very well. I told the girls ‘passing is key to running our offense.’ We def did a much better job passing than I had expected. We have our first conference game on Thursday against Peru, which is a big rival.”
S’WOOD DEF. EASTERN 25-8, 25-19, 25-20
It took the Comets a game to adjust to the quality of play from Southwood before rebounding to make for some close sets.
“First set I feel like we had some nerves with it being our opening match,” Eastern coach Missy Mavrick said. “Southwood’s a good team. I thought the second and third sets we settled down and played pretty well. Especially in the third we hung with them and even took the lead in the middle of the set.
“Southwood’s got a really good program. It gave the girls confidence that they can hang with some good teams.”
Lizzy Mavrick had 10 kills, six service receptions and 10 digs for the Comets. Hannah Williams had 10 kills and scored on two blocks. Courtney Clark had 11 service receptions and 10 digs. And Quinlyn Hochstedler had 25 assists.
Tri-Central def. Taylor 25-10, 25-13, 23-25, 25-12
Kim Seal floored eight kills to lead Taylor in its season-opening loss to TC. Also for the Titans, Katelyn Duncan had six digs and a good floor game and Rachel Hafley had seven service points.
NORTHWESTERN 5, CARROLL 0
The Purple Tigers blanked the Cougars with only one match going to a third set.
In singles action, No. 1 Tiger Will Duvaul won 6-1, 6-1, No. 2 player Clayton Douglass won 6-0, 6-0, and No. 3 player Kyle Miller won 6-1, 6-2. The Northwestern tandem of Nathan Chou and Kyle Douglass beat Brandon McCarty and Logan Jackson 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to win the No. 1 doubles match, and Joel Austin and Brayden Chou won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.