WHEATON – Rochelle had a pair of near scoring chances only minutes into Tuesday’s Class 2A regional semifinal.
Kaneland star Tucker Jahns had the response.
Ultimately, three of them.
Jahns broke away on a rush for his first of three goals on the evening with 37:43 left in the first half to put Kaneland on the fast track to a 5-2 victory over Rochelle at Wheaton Academy
The Knights now advance to the regional final, hosted 4 p.m. Friday at Wheaton Academy. Last season, the Knights fell in the Class 2A regional final to Marmion Academy, 5-0.
Kaneland (16-6) defeated Rochelle (13-8) twice during the regular season, outscoring the Hubs, 11-3.
“I said after that first goal, we kind of got comfortable with it,” Jahns said. “We thought it was going to be our game. This is our third time playing Rochelle [this season].”
Jahns has seven hat tricks and 33 goals on the year.
“I had the goal going into the game to beat my goal record of 31 [for the season],” Jahns said. “That’s almost [the] most in school history. A girl in our school has 97 [for her career]. I’m at 96 right now.”
“I said it to [the team] before, I hate playing a team three times in a year, especially if you beat them the first two times,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said.
“Too many times I’ve seen things happen. ... A few years ago, DeKalb beat us twice in the regular season; we beat them in the playoffs. I just didn’t want that to happen.’ ”
Rochelle junior forward Brayan Orozco equalized with 17:26 left in the first half after the Kaneland defense couldn’t clear the Hubs’ offensive attack.
Five regulation minutes later, Jahns scored again for his second goal on a semi-breakway that was ignited by a nifty Knights defensive slide tackle to get the offense going the other direction.
Gavin Cano added the Knights’ third goal on a penalty kick with 2:19 left in the first half, where the score remained 3-1.