Genoa-Kingston reverses fortune, punches ticket to state

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It was a long way from the season opener for the Genoa-Kingston boys soccer team. All that stood between the Cogs and the Class 1A state semifinals was a rematch with Somonauk.

That meant a rematch of the season opener — a 7-1 pounding that Genoa-Kingston took — that left the Cogs as the underdogs in a supersectional matchup Tuesday night 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 match that the Cogs were the aggressors throughout against a Somonauk team that had won 17 consecutive matches.

The Cogs improved to 17-6-1 with the 1-0 win and will play Herscher at 5 p.m. Friday at the Corn Crib in Normal.

“It happened pretty quick,” Uecker said. “It was bouncing, I think it was going to go in and I just finished it.”

Cogs goalkeeper Andrew Caldwell stopped all eight shots on goal and was aggressive throughout, wandering far out from the goal 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. It’s unfortunate it turned out to be a junk goal, but that’s what happens a lot of times late in a game like this.”

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 get a shot until 21 minutes into the match.

The consistent pressure produced a couple good scoring opportunities. Erik Tomlinson had a point blank opportunity from 15 yards, but Danny Humes had the save. 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,” Genoa-Kingston 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, I thought that was going in,” Caldwell said.

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