The Genoa-Kingston soccer team still thinks about the early goal that wasn’t in last year’s sectional final against Rockford Keith.
They’ve looked at the pictures and the video several times since, and they wonder what might have been.
Early on in that game, jubilation turned to frustration after Uriel Ortega’s shot beat the goalkeeper and wound up inside the post, but it escaped through a hole in the net. The official, who apparently failed to check the nets beforehand, signaled for a goal kick.
The Cogs took a lead but ended up losing, 2-1, in their first sectional final.
“I think it’s been in the back of their minds,” coach Randy Tate said. “They were pretty disappointed in that loss last year. … They’ve been waiting a long time to get out there.”
This week, they’ll have a chance to wipe out at least some of that disappointment when they play in the Class 1A Genoa-Kingston Sectional semifinals, where they’ll host Aurora Central Catholic today for the right to play in Saturday’s final.
“Last year, having that game kind of taken away from us, changing the outcome of the game, definitely makes us want it more” senior midfielder William Crozier said. “I think that’s going to help us in our determination to not quit.”
GK isn’t quite the same team they were in 2012, but they’ve been just as successful.
The Cogs lost Daily Chronicle All-Area goalscorers Chris Camargo and Devin Tijerina to graduation, and they haven’t necessarily replaced the pair.
Instead, they’ve become a better passing team with a strong midfield. They’ve scored goals, but one or two guys haven’t been the focus.
“We had some good goalscorers last year and we lost them this year, so we had to make up for it and step up,” senior Danny Hansen said. “We play more as a team now. We pass the ball more, we get everyone involved, and we don’t leave anyone out of the picture.”
If they win on Wednesday, they may meet Stillman Valley, who beat the Cogs, 6-0, early in the season, in Saturday’s final. That result was a tournament game almost immediately after an exhausting overtime loss to Hinckley-Big Rock, so the Cogs aren’t concerned about that scoreline.
They’re simply worried about erasing last year’s crushing loss from their minds.
“That’s been our goal since the beginning of the year, to just get a little bit farther than we did last year, so it’s always been there all season long, and finally, it’s arrived,” Tate said. “Never having gotten that far, and there hasn’t been a team [in other sports] that’s gotten that far in recent times, it would be pretty good.”