GENOA – When the Genoa-Kingston soccer team took the field Saturday afternoon, they wanted to accomplish something that no other Cogs team has accomplished before.
And, one moment of brilliance made that happen.
Erik Tomlinson’s goal with ten minutes remaining in the first half was the difference as Genoa-Kingston beat Stillman Valley 1-0 for the Genoa-Kingston Sectional championship.
“I thought that we played awesome. We were very aggressive,” said Cogs head coach Randy Tate. “Our goal for the game was to be aggressive and get to the ball first and deny them any kind of possession. Because, if they have the ball, they can score.”
This was the first sectional championship in the Genoa-Kingston soccer program’s history.
“It feels awesome,” said Cogs goalkeeper Andrew Caldwell. “It feels amazing to get the first sectional title for Genoa-Kingston.”
The game’s lone goal was set up after the first thirty minutes saw three total chances. Tomlinson collected the ball from a Cris Beltran pass about twenty yards away from the goal.
Tomlinson beat three defenders and found himself one-on-one with the goalie. The junior hit a hard high shot past the Cardinals goaltender.
“I got past the last guy and I just saw the goalie and the net," Tomlinson said."I just blasted it through and I hoped for the best and it did."
At the end of the first half, the Cogs led but neither team really had any control over the game. Stillman Valley had a few opportunities to break through the Genoa-Kingston defense.
“Throughout this postseason play, in the first half, we have played kind of tense. But, today, we played very well in the first half,” Caldwell said. “And in the second half, we relaxed and started to work more plays towards goal.”
In the second half, the Cogs controlled most of the play. Neither team had many chances in the second half — which played into the Cogs’ hands. Stillman Valley had six shots in the second half, and only one of those shots was on target.
The Cogs outshot Stillman Valley, 11-9, and Caldwell finished the game with five saves.
Genoa-Kingston will now move to the Peoria Super-Sectional and will play the winner of the Mendota Sectional. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Our defense has really progress throughout the year,” Caldwell said. “I feel that every game, they get better and better, so I hope that for every game, from know until the end, they keep progressing.”