DeKALB – One shot on goal was all the DeKalb boys soccer team needed in Tuesday’s 1-0 Class 3A DeKalb Regional semifinal win against Jacobs.
The Barbs hadn’t even mustered a single shot when center back Logan Brown moved into the midfield and ripped a volley from 40 yards in the 50th minute.
“‘Just dip,’” DeKalb coach Brent McIntosh remembered saying as Brown’s shot flew through the air.
Brown’s looping shot dipped at just the right moment to pass the outstretched fingertips of the Jacobs goalkeeper.
“I knew it had potential, but I didn’t think it was that great of a shot,” Brown said. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to fall.”
That one speculative shot was all DeKalb needed to pull out a defensive victory and advance to Saturday’s regional final against Huntley.
Going against a strong wind in the first half, the Barbs knew they’d have to defend, and McIntosh knew that defending would take energy. The DeKalb coach sent in substitute after substitute, switching players in and out multiple times. Eighteen Barbs played in total.
A volley from outside the penalty area was Jacobs’ best chance in the first half, but goalkeeper Cully Hicks pushed the shot aside.
“I’ve got a lot of guys on the bench that can play,” McIntosh said. “Maybe in other years they’re even starting.”
Even when the Barbs went with the wind in the second half, they stuck to their defensive guns.
Jacobs had the ball in DeKalb’s defensive third for a majority of the second half, but chances were few and far between.
A shot from Jacobs senior Eric Soto in the second minute of the half was saved by Hicks, but after that, Jacobs couldn’t break through DeKalb’s back line.
“We knew coming into the game, we were going to have to be defensive, that’s what we’ve been all year, especially against a team like this, that is supposed to be an extremely good possessive team offensively,” DeKalb midfielder Sean Woodford said. “Coming in, we knew we weren’t going to have many opportunities, but we were waiting for that one opportunity.”
That one opportunity, from an unlikely player from an unlikely spot on the field, put DeKalb in the regional championship on Saturday, when they’ll face Huntley.
“I didn’t think it would come from a 40-yard volley, but that was all we needed,” Woodford said. “It was an amazing hit. The chances you’d score on a volley from that distance are insane. To see it bouncing [into the lower corner] was insane.”