ROCHELLE — The Geneseo Maple Leafs rallied from two second-half deficits to beat the Rochelle varsity boys soccer team last season. While Geneseo didn’t walk away from Rochelle Township High School with a victory on Thursday, the Maple Leafs fought back once again to draw the Hubs and end Rochelle’s seven-game winning streak.
Senior Jessee Infante put the Hubs ahead with two unassisted first-half goals, but Geneseo scored two unanswered goals in the second half to tie the Hubs 2-2 and move Rochelle to 7-0-1 on the season. Rochelle, now 2-0-1 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 West, led 2-1 before Geneseo booted a long ball from beyond the left side of the Hub penalty area over the Rochelle defense and into the upper-right corner of the net in the 78th minute of play.
“This game was one of those learning experiences for the boys and the only thing we can do is come back stronger,” head coach Brad Male said. “We made a few mistakes and they were able to capitalize on them which was unfortunate. I’m looking for these guys to come back strong over these next couple of games.”
Rochelle and Geneseo nearly went scoreless in the first half before Infante put the Hubs on the board in the 35th minute. Infante added another goal in the 39th minute to give Rochelle a two-goal cushion entering the second half. The Maple Leafs scored roughly halfway through the second half to cut the Hub lead to one.
“Seeing Jessee score definitely raised our spirits,” Male said. “As hard as we worked in the first half, to get a couple of goals definitely raised everybody’s enthusiasm.”
Rochelle pressured Geneseo on plenty of occasions late in the second half, but the Hubs were unable to capitalize on their runs. With time running down, Geneseo countered with a pass across the field before the Maple Leafs sent a long ball that flew just over the outstretched hand of Rochelle goalie Mason DeLille, who totaled eight saves in the draw.
“We just have to realize that there are 11 players on the field,” Male said. “There isn’t one person who’s the reason for any loss or any tie. We have to regroup and make sure we’re playing together as a team.”
Rochelle will look to bounce back against Plano at home on Monday, Sept. 17 at 4:30 p.m.