MONTICELLO, Ill. -- J.J. Malone scored another hat trick to lead the Knights to the Monticello Regional championship, as Blue Ridge beat the Sages 3-2.
Malone (pictured below) scored the only goal of the first half to put Blue Ridge up 1-0. With that goal, he broke the IHSA record for most goals scored in a career.
Malone went on to score two more goals in the second half. Jacob Hanselman and Billy Nixon each recorded a second-half goal for Monticello; Matt Wells was credited for the assist on Nixon's score.
Malone now has 64 goals in the 2011 season. He surpassed Kevin Schmidt, who scored 62 goals for Hinckley Big Rock in 1980, for third place on the IHSA record list of most goals scored in a season.
Robert Meschback of Chicago Gordon Tech holds that record after scoring 71 goals in 1976. Blue Island Eisenhower's Jose Esparaza scored 65 goals in 1992, putting him in second place.
Malone was not the only one performing well for the Knights, as Josh Plunk made 11 saves to preserve his team's lead. Jon Jones and Ian Riggs picked up one assist each.
With the win over Monticello, Blue Ridge improves to a record of 19-2-3 and advances to the Warrensburg-Latham Sectional.
The Knights will play in the sectional semifinals against Monmouth-Roseville, who beat Macomb 1-0 in the Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central Regional, on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The winner of that match will play against the winner of Wednesday's match between Warrensburg-Latham and Glasford Illini Bluffs for the sectional championship on Saturday.