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Genoa-Kingston boys soccer advances to regional final

GENOA – Genoa Kingston was the lower seed heading into Wednesday’s Genoa-Kingston Regional semifinal match against Westminster Christian, but the Cogs showed right away in their 3-1 win that the seed didn’t mean anything.

G-K, the third seed, scored in the first minute and twice more in the first half to assert its dominance over the second-seeded Warriors.

“We played a really good, nice first half,” coach Randy Tate said. “We wanted to score early, to try to take them out as much as we could … I thought they were one of the better teams I’ve seen.” 

In reality, the Cogs probably never should have been the third seed in a four-team regional.

The Cogs are 13-6-1, and tied Harvard two weeks ago, which is seeded first in their Class 2A regional. 

Their quality of play was apparent from the first minute, when Erik Tomlinson’s corner kick bounced around in the penalty area before Danny Hansen knocked it in.

Seven minutes later, Juan Lechuga received a through pass from Juan Da Silva, beat a defender and scored.

With 17 minutes left in the half, Tomlinson added a goal of his own when he collected a rebound off of a hard William Crozier shot.

Despite several chances in the second half, G-K couldn’t add another, and Westminster Christian began to press in the dying minutes of the game, scoring with less than 16 minutes to go.

“I felt like we were going to take this one [early],” Lechuga said. “I think we gave up towards the end, which is not a good thing.”

The Warriors (9-6) created a few chances to score their second, but they weren’t able to climb any closer. The Cogs advanced to the regional final against Cristo Rey on Saturday, when they know a full 80-minute effort will be crucial.

“I don’t know what happened in the second half. I think defensively we lost composure and we kind of laid off,” Tomlinson said. “We learned from this one and we won’t play like that next game.”

A year ago, the Cogs made a run all the way to the sectional championship game, when they lost to Keith Country Day School after leading for much of the game. Avenging that loss has been on their mind all season, and while Lechuga wasn’t satisfied with Wednesday’s second half, he thinks they have the team to do it.

“I think we were good last year,” Lechuga said. “But the way we play this year, we play so much closer as a team, and I think we have a better chance.”

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