DeKALB – The DeKalb boys soccer team secured its third straight title in the Barb Cup after 80 back-and-forth minutes and a tense penalty shootout with the Yorkville Foxes.
The Barbs won on penalty kicks, 4-3, after a scoreless regulation.
Former conference rivals before the breakup of the Northern Illnois Big 12, the teams were familiar with each other, and both coaches tried to take advantage of that familiarity.
“We know Yorkville well,” Barbs head coach P.J. Hamilton said. “We think highly of their program. They had their kids ready, they fought extremely hard, but we knew where we wanted to exploit before the game. We knew how we were going to attack them.”
“You have to know your personnel on your side of the ledger,” Foxes head coach Chris Palmisano said. “Then, obviously, understand their personnel, and adjust accordingly to put your best foot forward.”
However, scoring was hard to come by for both teams, and when the final whistle of regulation blew, it was still 0-0. It was in penalties that the Barbs finally were able to pounce, as DeKalb players were a perfect 5-5 from the spot. The only stop came from Barbs keeper Matt Haesaker, who pulled out a split-secon-reaction save on Yorkville midfielder Matt Angerame’s shot in the third set of penalties.
By the numbers: One factor in the goalie battle was the number of shots each defended during the course of regulation. Barbs keeper Matt Haesaker faced only four shots on target, while Foxes keeper Nathan Sandon Jr. faced seven.
Beyond the stats: Sandon had a moment of panic when he mishandled a cross and nearly dropped it at the feet of a DeKalb attacker. Fortunately for the Yorkville junior, the resulting shot was not converted.
They said it: “I think it’s one of the better games we’ve seen reffing, actually. There’s times where the heat of the moment comes in. … I would’ve liked one called a little bit further back, but those guys come out here, and they do exactly what they’re supposed to do. They reffed the game with class,” Hamilton said.