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Cogs one win away from 1st sectional title

GENOA – Genoa-Kingston boys soccer coach Randy Tate knew a goal eventually would come his team’s way.

During the first half of Wednesday’s Class 1A Genoa-Kingston Sectional semifinal, Tate watched the Cogs miss some key chances. G-K pounded Aurora Central Catholic goalkeeper Andy Czerak with shots and had a couple of opportunities go right over the crossbar.

But for nearly 30 minutes, the Cogs couldn’t find the back of the net despite the consistent pressure. With 11 minutes left in the half, William Crozier pulled through for the Cogs, opening the scoring with a header on a pass from Bobby Nay.

Less than two minutes later, Juan Lechuga scored the Cogs’ second goal on an assist from Danny Hansen, and that was all G-K needed in a 2-0 win.

The Cogs advance to play Stillman Valley at 3 p.m. in Saturday’s sectional final. The Cardinals defeated Rockford Christian, 2-0, in the other semifinal Tuesday.

“I think we got that one score, we got a little bit of relief and they relaxed a little bit. Came out and played a little better after that,” Tate said. “I think we were pressing again. Like the last game, we came out pressing a little too much, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. When we relax we play much better.”

G-K (15-6-1) finished the match with 13 shots on goal, compared to only two for ACC (8-12). Ten of the Cogs’ 13 shots were in the first half.

“In the beginning we always come out strong,” Lechuga said. “We try to get a team to have less confidence in the first half. We try to put them down.”

ACC got some more chances, though the Chargers finished with only two shots on goal against Cogs keeper Andrew Caldwell.

“We told them, we’ve got to play aggressive,” Tate said. “We control the ball, we take them out of the game.”

Stillman Valley defeated the Cogs, 6-0, in the Stillman Valley Tournament at the beginning of the season. However, the match was played right after the Cogs’ overtime match with Hinckley-Big Rock. Tate said his team was gassed after the tough match with H-BR, and he held some of his players out against Stillman.

A win Saturday would give G-K its first sectional title in school history after winning three consecutive regional titles.

“We’ve got to play our game, play our positions and do good,” Lechuga said. “Everybody’s got to do their part.”

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