Area soccer seasons are slowly winding down. In less than two weeks, the regular season will be over and teams around the state will be fighting for regional victories.
Genoa-Kingston currently stands at 10-4-2, and the Cogs are the top seed in their own regional. With regular-season play winding down, Genoa-Kingston senior Devon Tijerina said like the team just needs to work on moving the ball up the field and being more aggressive on offense.
“I feel like we’re OK,” he said, “But we can improve a lot more and be better on passing and working the ball up the field a lot more to take more shots in the game.”
Hiawatha fully healthy
The Hawks came into the 2012 season with hopes of a Little Ten championship and a deep postseason run.
However, health issues have hurt Hiawatha during the regular season as the Hawks have an 8-7 record, including a 4-3 mark in the Little Ten Conference.
Senior captain Marek Mlodzianowski missed three weeks with mono and junior forward Poncho Garcia was held out for two weeks with a leg injury.
“Not only [Mlodzianowski’s] skills, but his leadership is phenomenal,” Hiawatha coach Kyle Monestero said. “Losing that leadership quality was a real heartbreak for me.”
The Hawks are the No. 4 seed in the Little Ten Conference after losing to Somonauk, Hinckley-Big Rock and Leland-Earlville in the regular season.
But now Hiawatha is fully healthy and showed what it’s capable of in a 3-2 loss to Somonauk on Senior Night earlier this week.
“I finally had my whole team back, so I was super excited,” Monestero said. “The boys are very proud of how they played, it was a little bit of a heart-breaker.”
• Steve Nitz contributed to this report.
Matt Shroka, Indian Creek, sophomore Shroka recorded a hat trick in the Timberwolves’ 4-3 Little Ten Conference victory over Paw Paw on Monday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Kaneland at DeKalb, 6 p.m., Thursday Two of the top teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 face off in a key conference showdown.
Hinckley Big Rock, Indian Creek, Hiawatha at Little Ten Tournament, Monday – Oct. 3 After Somonauk won the regular-season championship, H-BR, Indian Creek and Hiawatha all will look to get some late-season momentum going into the playoffs.
1. DeKalb (6-1-5, 4-0-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) Convincing victories over Sycamore and Rochelle have the Barbs thinking about a conference title.
2. Hinckley-Big Rock (14-2, 5-1 Little Ten Conference) Other than a slip-up against Somonauk, H-BR has been dominant in the Little Ten Conference.
3. Kaneland (8-2-2, 3-1-1 NI Big 12) The Knights lost their first conference game of the season in a 3-0 defeat to Yorkville.
4. Genoa-Kingston (10-5, 4-4 Big Northern Conference) The Cogs lost a tough 1-0 match at home to Harvard, falling back to .500 in the BNC East.
5. Hiawatha (8-7, 4-3 Little Ten)
Hiawatha played Somonauk tough, but lost, 3-2, at home on Monday.
6. Indian Creek (6-11, 2-5 Little Ten) The Timberwolves finished out Little Ten Conference play with a victory over Paw Paw.
7. Sycamore (2-10-1, 0-4 NI Big 12) The Spartans never got much going in a 4-0 loss to DeKalb.
VIEWS: Local squads look for positives from conference tourney
The Little Ten Conference tournament starts on Monday and Hinckley-Big Rock, Hiawatha and Indian Creek will all look to be getting something out of the three-day tournament.
They just might be three different things.
The Royals have been dominant since a tough loss to Somonauk in their conference opener. Hinckley-Big Rock led Somonauk by a goal, but the Bobcats got a tally in the final three minutes and added another in overtime for a 3-2 win.
H-BR and Somonauk are the top two seeds in the tournament and appear to be headed for a title-game rematch. Somonauk won the tournament championship last year over Hiawatha while the H-BR finished in third place.
The Hawks will be looking to prove that last year’s postseason success wasn’t a fluke. After a rocky regular season, Hiawatha has all of their playmakers back and will look to improve upon last year’s runner-up finish at the Little Ten Conference tournament.
“The competition in the Little Ten is phenomenal,” Hiawatha coach Kyle Monestero said. “Especially us starting back up, getting all my boys healthy, it’s a great way to work on the last kinks we have on the field before regionals.”
Indian Creek posted a 2-5 record in conference this season, but things have been moving in the right direction for the Timberwolves.
Indian Creek coach Eric Schrader said his team played one of its best games of the year against Princeton less than two weeks ago, and the the Timberwolves beat Paw Paw, 4-3, earlier this week.
They will be looking to get a few more positive results before heading into a tough regional led by No. 1 seed Leland-Earlville.
The Timberwovles won the consolation championship at the Little Ten Conference tournament in 2011.
• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. Contact him by email at email@example.com.