EAST PEORIA – Tuesday marked more than two months from the start of the season for the Genoa-Kingston boys soccer team.
And all that stood between the Cogs and the Class 1A state semifinals was a rematch with Somonauk, which defeated G-K with a six-goal pounding in the first match of the season, leaving the Cogs as heavy underdogs in the supersectional match Tuesday night at the Class 1A Peoria Christian Supersectional at EastSide Centre in East Peoria.
Genoa-Kingston freshman Nick Uecker tapped a bouncing ball into an open net with 2:11 left in the second overtime for the only goal of a 1-0 match. The Cogs were the aggressors throughout against a Somonauk team that had won 17 consecutive matches.
The Cogs improved to 17-6-1 and will play Herscher at 5 p.m. Friday at the Corn Crib in Normal.
It is the first supersectional title in program history.
“It happened pretty quick,” Uecker said. “It was bouncing, I think it was going to go in and I just finished it.”
Cogs keeper Andrew Caldwell stopped all eight shots on goal and was aggressive throughout, wandering far from his goal line to prevent other shots.
“The first time, they had a pretty easy time against us,” Caldwell said. “We came out strong, I think it may have surprised them a little. After that first (match), I never thought I’d be standing here after beating them to go to state.”
“I thought it was pretty even the whole way,” Somonauk coach Dave Erasmus said. “It was a really good job by both keepers. Both of them made some really nice saves. Both teams played very hard.”
Genoa-Kingston dominated much of the first half, outshooting Somonauk 9-4 and spending much of the first 25 minutes in the offensive zone. Somonauk, which finished 22-3, didn’t record a shot until 21 minutes into the match.
The consistent pressure produced a couple good scoring opportunities for the Cogs. Erik Tomlinson had a point-blank opportunity from 15 yards, but Danny Humes had the save for Somonauk. About eight minutes later, a deflection went wide and a shot by Uriel Ortega was stopped.
“We wanted to come out and put as much pressure as we could on them,” G-K coach Randy Tate said. “We just kept playing hard, trying to get in position to make plays.”
The best offensive chance for Somonauk in the first half was a shot from inside 20 yards by Josh Schmitt. Sophomore keeper Andrew Caldwell used both hands to grab the hard, high-rising attempt.
The scariest point for Caldwell, however, was on a rolling ball that wasn’t a shot. Caldwell slipped and fell on a pass back for a setup. The ball kept rolling toward the goal and Caldwell had to slide to stop it.
“I was worried,” Caldwell said. “I thought that was going in.”
Class 1A Peoria Christian Supersectional
Genoa-Kingston 1, Somonauk 0 (2OT)
Class 1A State semifinals
Friday, Corn Crib, Normal
Genoa-Kingston vs. Herscher, 5 p.m.
Chicago (F.W. Parker) vs. Waterloo (Gibault Catholic), 7 p.m.