Five days ago, Geneva gave up a goal 21 seconds into a game and went on to lose 3-0.
Thursday night against an unbeaten DeKalb squad on its home field, the Vikings were down a goal after 2:43 and the notion of a third consecutive loss was hard to ignore.
“That definitely felt like some bad déjà vu,” Geneva coach Ryan Estabrook admitted. “The most gratifying thing was from beginning to end, we did a complete 180.”
Not only did Geneva get an equalizer by halftime, the Vikings’ combination of Matt Luetzen-to-Drew Klaus scored again in similar fashion to produce the 2-1 victory.
The nonconference game was the first loss of the year and a rare home defeat for a DeKalb (2-1-1), a program that was fresh off winning its own Barb Cup Tournament for a third straight year.
DeKalb’s Alex Vaughn-Low spotted Trevor Freeland in position for a 15-yard laser strike that eluded Viking goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull. The Barbs continued to control play for the majority of the opening half.
There was 2:59 left before intermission when Luetzen’s direct kick became a seven-yard header for Klaus. The 6-4 junior defender moved up for a corner kick 8:41 into the second half and Luetzen found his teammate for a five-yard header.
“I’m always looking for the big, tall head,” Luetzen said. “The idea is to put the ball into space in front of the net knowing Drew or a teammate will be there. The first one was great, but executing it a second time was phenomenal.”
“It was all him,” Klaus said, deferring credit to Luetzen. “I try come around the wall to get open, but there’s an art to those kicks and he really put two perfect balls on my head.”
Although DeKalb pressed for a tying goal, Geneva continued to match the Barbs offensively and the Vikings had more near misses, even down the stretch. The Barbs’ Freeland had an impressive heel pass to teammate Benny Redzepi, but Turnbull deflected it out.
“My defenders really did a solid job limiting their opportunities and I didn’t have to do as much as I expected,” Turnbull said. “On that play, our defense forced him out wide so I saw it developing and was able to shut down the angle and get my foot on it.”