GENOA – With only a few reserves sitting on the bench, closing out matches might not always be easy for the Genoa-Kingston girls soccer team.
But on Thursday, the Cogs didn’t leave anything to doubt, scoring two goals in the first three minutes of a 7-1 win over North Boone.
“We always want to jump out on them as quick as we can,” G-K coach Randy Tate said. “Especially with such a small team, we don’t always know how long we’re going to last.”
Already a small team, the Cogs (1-1, 1-1 Big Northern Conference) have been crippled by injuries early in the season. All-conference sophomore Ashley Grimm tore her ACL before the season, and senior Julia Mendoza suffered an injury to her knee Tuesday after recently recovering from a torn ACL. The severity of Mendoza’s injury is not yet known.
“When we lost Julia, that’s a big player that comes out, and now we’ve got to find someone who can replace her leadership, senior qualities and ability,” Tate said. “That’s not always easy for a small team.”
With all-area second-teamer Shannon Schumacher away from the team Tuesday, the Cogs weren’t able to hold on to an early lead in a 2-1 loss to Marengo.
But on Thursday against the Vikings (0-3, 0-2 BNC), the Cogs were able to use two goals each from Schumacher and sophomore Nicole Hebel and goals from Abbey Rasmussen, Viviana Beltran and Ixtel Viramontes to coast past the Vikings.
“We were really passing up front, it was really good,” Hebel said. “We were definitely moving the ball better [than in Tuesday’s match.]”
But what the Cogs lack in depth, they make up in quality. Three all-area players returned this season, and Hebel returned this season after missing her freshman year because of a torn ACL. Her ability to control the middle of the field will be crucial in Grimm and Mendoza’s stead.
“She’s a big help with controlling the midfield,” Schumacher said of Hebel. “She transitioned really quickly. I think she’s having a really good start to her year so far.”
The thin Cogs roster will have a tough go next week when it plays seven games, capped off by Saturday’s Barbfest tournament in DeKalb. Their depth surely will be tested after early season games were postponed.
But being a small team isn’t all bad, Hebel said.
“We didn’t have as many people try out, and we’re worried about injuries,” Hebel said. “But I think that because we’re small, we’re closer than a normal team would be.”