DIXON – Sycamore barely had finished warming up when it found itself trailing Dixon in a Northern Illinois Big 12 boys soccer crossover match Wednesday.
And even when the Spartans battled back to tie it, the Dukes had the answer in a 4-1 Dixon victory at A.C. Bowers Field.
“We’ll take goals however we can get them,” said Dixon senior forward Matt Kerr, who had two goals and an assist. “We just played the game tonight and let the plays come to us.”
The game wasn’t even four minutes old when the Dukes (3-2) struck first. Kerr dribbled through the Sycamore defense by himself and put a shot toward the far post. It struck Spartans defender Kevin Maillefer and bounced into the goal past a diving Stephen Benson, who was caught off-guard by the ball’s change of direction.
“It’s unfortunate, but those things happen sometimes,” Sycamore coach Dave Lichamer said. “We did a good job cutting off his run, but the shot came off Kevin funny and we couldn’t react in time.”
Sycamore (1-5) knotted the score when Ivan Chavez put a short shot past Dixon goalie Brandon Jagitsch from a tussle in front of the net with 24:19 left before halftime.
But the Dukes took control again right away. Kerr converted a penalty kick at the 23:29 mark after he was held by a Spartans defender in the box.
A minute later, Dixon took a 3-1 lead when Kerr fired a pass up the middle to a sprinting Scott Heath, who finished the breakaway with a shot into the lower left-hand corner of the net.
“That was great going into halftime, and scoring goals that quickly really boosts your confidence,” Heath said. “Once we got the lead, all we were thinking the rest of the way was not to let them score ... and we ended up getting another goal out of it.”
After both teams settled in for most of the second half, Heath finished off the scoring with 15:15 left in the match. Reid Deets stole a crossing pass on Dixon’s side of midfield and dribbled all the way into the Sycamore penalty box, flipping a pass that Heath buried into the left-hand side of the net.
“Give credit to our midfielders and defense,” Kerr said, “because they sent us some great balls upfield and really played an excellent game all-around today.”
“They have some speedsters, and they really put us in a hole,” Lichamer said. “We had a nice battle at midfield for most of the game, but they converted on a high percentage of their shots, and we couldn’t catch up.”
Sycamore managed one goal on seven shots, including only two shots after halftime.