Sep. 7—URBANA — With just under 15 minutes to play in Tuesday night's contest, Parks Tolton found the ball at his feet once again.
Urbana's senior forward and chief playmaker had already tallied one goal, taking a throw-in and spinning past a defender to score. So, he did it again.
Tolton whipped around his man and potted his second of the contest with a left-footed strike.
"Very similar to the first goal. I did a turn, I looked up, found the shot, and it was good," Tolton said.
That insurance marker lifted the Hawks past Middletown boys soccer, 3-1. The match was the first of regular-season play for both sides after each went undefeated in Labor Day weekend tournaments.
Tolton's tally helped put distance between his side and the Knights after Middletown struck early in the second half. Ashton Smith slid to bury a beautiful cross from Cesar Aguilar, giving the Knights (2-1) a jolt after a poor end to the opening 40 minutes.
That came due to Tolton and junior forward Collin Patterson, the latter of whom broke the ice by deflecting a set piece. It turned the tide, as Middletown's strong start to the contest quickly gave way to Urbana's control.
"It's good for us just to learn early in the season and keep growing from it," Knights coach Jeff Colsh said. "There's no easy county opponents."
The Hawks (2-0) are always a challenge, and Tolton's 6-foot-4 frame combined with his playmaking ability pose a particular test for opponents who don't always face someone with that frame.
"His physical size is an attribute, but he's also an extremely technical player and also an intelligent player," Urbana coach Scott Schartner said. "That's one of our strong suits. We have a bunch of different players who understand different angles of the field so they're able to contribute in multiple areas and make right decisions in crucial times."
That's what leads to plays like his two goals. It nearly helped him land a hat trick, too, as he shook loose defenders numerous times and nearly added one on a breakaway.
But he'll settle for the brace and a victory, knowing there's plenty more goals to come.
"I'm a very creative player," Tolton said. "I always look up. I always think ahead, so I feel like my teammates definitely helped me push through it."