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Photo: Kushstrim Ismaili tries to get control of the ball in the rain during Kaneland’s 5-1 playoff win against IMSA at Burlington on Oct. 17. Photo by John DiDonna
Soccer crew wins 2nd regional plaque in 3 seasons
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Saturday’s Class 2A Burlington Central Regional title match between No. 1 Kaneland and No. 2 Burlington Central was a tight affair between two teams playing with a well-disciplined edge.
While that can fill any accomplished team with some degree of pride, what really seals the deal is the hardware the Knights secured after a 2-1 win.
An initial two-goal lead held until the end, despite constant pressure from the host Rockets, and Kaneland came away with its second regional title in three seasons. The Knights last won a regional in 2010, but were defeated by Sterling at Belvidere High School in the sectional semifinal in a postseason that featured nine overtime frames.
Kaneland got to the regional promised land due to a 5-1 win over Illinois Math and Science Academy on Oct. 17.
Kaneland now takes on Freeport, which beat Belvidere on Saturday as part of the Belvidere Regional on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The Knights (15-3-2) took it to the Rocket rivals (17-4-2) early with a booming rocket of a kick by Alex Gil with 19:20 remaining in the first half.
“We practice switching the field and going back and forth,” Gil said. “We go left and right, and I was able to get it in.”
The Rockets were barely able to catch their breath before Alec Koczka’s header in the same area where Gil’s goal ended up made it 2-0 with 18:05 to go.
Burlington Central kept pressing and ended up halving the deficit with a goal from Alan Camarena with 10 minutes left on the first-half clock.
The second half had the majority of the action around Kaneland’s goal and a final flurry was set away, volleyball style, by goalkeeper Marshall Farthing with :16 left.
“That was just a quick reaction I had,” Farthing said. “I didn’t know what else to do. It just came right in and I stuck my hands out.”
The Knights’ win over the Titans featured a 5-0 lead at halftime, thanks to goals from Tyler Siebert, Kushstrim Ismaili, a free kick by Sam Rymarz and two goals from Anthony Parillo.
The Knight-Pretzel encounter was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Sterling, with the winner facing either East Moline’s United Twp. or Rochelle in the final on Friday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m.
Results of Wednesday’s contest were unavailable at press time.