A game like Phil McKegg had Tuesday night deserves a big spotlight.
But after the Melbourne Central Catholic junior striker had a spectacular game with four goals in a 5-0 victory over visiting Community School of Naples in the Class 1A, Region 3 championship game Tuesday night, McKegg wanted to spread the wealth.
“I get a lot of credit, but I’ve got to give credit to my teammates for playing good balls and my ability to finish,” McKegg said. “That’s what had us come out victorious tonight.”
The Hustlers (17-6-1) will face Scheck Hillel Community (North Miami Beach) Friday night at FIU North Stadium for the right to play for the state title. Scheck Hillel defeated Sagemont 2-0 to win the Region 4 title.
McKegg, who played central defender for MCC last season, now has 27 goals to go with 11 assists on the season.
His teammate, Jaden Rainbow, also had a big game on Tuesday with three assists.
“He’s a scrapper,” McKegg said of Rainbow. “He works for every ball. He gets around the defender, plays a good ball, and then I just come in and finish it off with a little toe poke.”
The Community School came into the game having allowed just one goal in its previous eight contests.
McKegg’s first “toe poke” came with 24 minutes remaining in the first half off an assist from Rainbow. The real damage, however, came in the final 30 seconds of the first half when two more MCC goals made it 3-0.
Rainbow did not get an assist on the second goal, but he delivered a perfect pass from the wing to teammate Lino Troisi, who chest-bumped the ball to an open McKegg for the score.
“That was probably his most beautiful assist of the season,” McKegg said of Troisi’s assist. “All the credit to him. Great ball from Jaden from the wing and I just slotted it.”
McKegg added an unassisted goal in the second half after he beat Community School goalkeeper Max Unger to the ball and pushed it into a wide open net. Freshman Josh Walts scored MCC’s final goal on an assist from Rainbow. Goalkeeper Cam Lierman got the shutout.
MCC coach Chuck Kelly believes he is seeing the fruit of a tough non-district schedule against 3A and 4A schools earlier in the season. He also noted how big those two goals at the end of the first half were.
“Just for pure momentum,” he said. “Any goal late in a half just changes the whole feel of the game. And to go from 1-0 to 3-0 is definitely going to put your opponent in a much more difficult position.”
The Hustlers are hoping that momentum will propel them to the state title game. But one thing is for sure … they keep getting better and better.
“This was definitely our best game of the season,” McKegg said.