MAPLE PARK – The first varsity soccer match for Rochelle’s Brian Garcia was a real baptism by fire.
Kaneland peppered the freshman goalkeeper Thursday as the Knights won the Northern Illinois Big 12 East contest, 4-0.
Because of injuries, Garcia is the fifth keeper this season for the Hubs, and the Knights took advantage of his inexperience.
At first, it looked like it would be a long day for Rochelle (3-12-2, 0-7-1) as the Knights scored their first goal just 20 seconds into the contest.
Tyler Siebert kicked the ball in from the right side of the post after receiving a cross from Ignacio Toscano.
“I took the ball down the line, left mid and I sprinted down to the corner and put into the box,” Toscano said. “Siebert finished. He capitalized on it.”
“That’s what we normally work on at the beginning of the game,” Siebert said. “We go up and pressure with high intensity and try to get that first goal right away.”
It then took Kaneland (7-5-3, 4-2-2 NI Big 12 East) 15 minutes to score its next goal. After battling defenders swarming in front of the goal, Toscano booted the ball in.
“It was kind a fluke, but it went in,” Toscano said. “It seemed like we didn’t know what happened, but I got the last touch and it bounced across the line.”
Toscano and Siebert reversed roles on the third score, combining for a goal 30 minutes into the second half.
“I got a ball in from Siebert and put it in,” Toscano said of his second goal. “He returned the favor.”
Arsim Azemi scored the final goal with 3:12 left to play.
Garcia blocked a shot with his body that bounced back and hit Azemi, who was in front of the net. The forward quickly booted the ball back toward the goal and past Garcia.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of wins,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. “We really need to finish when we have the opportunity. It’s kind of been the storyline all season.”
Kaneland’s midfield stymied Rochelle as most of the action was on the Hubs’ side of the field.
“Obviously, we dominated. They didn’t get too much on us,” Parillo said. “Possession was probably about 80-20.”