GENOA – All looked lost when the Genoa-Kingston girls soccer team conceded two goals in the opening 25 minutes to Mendota in their regional semifinal match Wednesday.
“I think we just came out big-headed a little bit,” said G-K’s Maggie Bouque. “After they scored the first two goals, we can’t play like that and we needed to play it like we know how to play – we have to play strong.”
The Cogs responded to the adversity by netting four unanswered goals for a 4-2 victory. The win set up a showdown with top-seeded Indian Creek at 3 p.m. Saturday in the IHSA Class 1A Genoa-Kingston Regional final.
Bouque scored the eventual game-winner with 13 minutes remaining in the contest. Nicole Hebel finished the match with two goals and an assist.
“I think it was like we weren’t prepared to play at first, and it was kind of like a shock,” Hebel said. “In the first 10 minutes, we were not that good. But, then we started to connect passes and it was really good. “
The second-seeded Cogs got on the scoreboard with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Hebel drove toward the goal and drew a foul outside the box.
The junior lined up the free kick, fired over the wall into the goal, and G-K cut the deficit in half.
At the start of the second half, the Cogs started to pile on the pressure. G-K got the equalizer off another set piece. Hebel crossed the ball deep in the box and Katie McCluskey got her head on it, sending it to the back of the net.
“After we settled down, we started playing as a team – possessing the ball and getting to the ball first,” G-K head coach Randy Tate said. “Then, things started to click,”
Bouque’s game-winning goal came 20 minutes after the tying goal. Ashley Grimm made a darting run down the left wing. Grimm threw a cross into the box and Bouque scored on the back post.
“If I miss this, I needed to get pulled out,” Bouque joked. “After I scored, I was like ‘3-2.’ We have the lead but we still need to keep it up.”
With three minutes remaining, Hebel gave G-K an insurance goal when her shot from distance flew into the goal.
Mendota, seeded third in the regional, took a defensive posture after scoring its first goal, and no Trojans defender came past the half line all game. Tate said that the Mendota defending strategy really helped the Cogs create chances.
“It definitely helped us because we could get through the midfield, then we could possess and control it,” Tate said. “Then, we could work our way around and find the openings.”