J.J. Malone Nets Another Hat Trick, Leads Blue Ridge Soccer to 4-1 Win over Danville Schlarman

Blue Ridge soccer players walk away after clapping along with attendees in gratitude for showing up to the match.

"It was a good crowd," Blue Ridge coach Marty Price said. "Normally, we don't get this big a crowd on a Saturday."

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- For the fifth time this season, J.J. Malone has scored at least three goals in a match.

Malone (No. 5 in white, pictured below) recorded his 16th, 17th and 18th goals of the season on Saturday against the Hilltoppers as the Knights left South Park (and the 96-degree heat) with a 4-1 victory.

"About three years ago, I was expecting my son to get 40 goals a season. Now, we expect that from J.J.," Blue Ridge coach Marty Price said.

Malone's second and third goals were scored in the second half to break a 1-1 halftime tie. Malone also gave the Knights a 1-0 lead by receiving a throw in and scoring an unassisted goal from the right side of the net.

"I just can't get them motivated to play in the first half," Price said.

Prior to the first of those second-half goals, Conner Builta (No. 11 in white, pictured below) took three shots at the net. One shot went wide right and the next two sailed wide left.

Finally, Builta let Malone finish the job. Malone obliged, kicking one to the right side of the net for the go-ahead (and game-winning) goal.

Malone gave Blue Ridge an insurance goal afterwards, partly due to a little luck. As Schlarman goalie Chris Kuchefski fell down, Malone kicked a shot toward the upper part of the net for the goal.

Builta was credited with an assist on both of Malone's second-half goals.

Ian Riggs (No. 6 in white, pictured below) got on the scoreboard for Blue Ridge as well. After producing a corner kick, Riggs got the ball and kicked a lob shot that sailed over Kuchefski's head and into the net.

The goal gave Blue Ridge a 4-1 lead and was unassisted.

The Knights finished the match with 15 shots on goal, compared to five for the Hilltoppers. Kuchefski saved eight of Blue Ridge's shots.

Josh Plunk (pictured below) saved two of Schlarman's shots, including a penalty kick that he caught on his left side. Blue Ridge was leading 4-1 when Plunk made the save.

With the win over Schlarman, the Knights improve their record to 7-1. They will travel to Champaign on Tuesday to face Judah Christian at 4:30 p.m.

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