Boys Soccer: Hubs lose hard-fought battle with Kaneland

Senior Christian Harding clears the ball from the Rochelle area of the field during the Hub varsity soccer match against Kaneland on Monday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Salazar nets lone goal in 2-1 loss to Knights

ROCHELLE — A hard-fought match in rainy conditions saw the Rochelle Hub varsity soccer team fall just short in a tough Interstate 8 battle against the Kaneland Knights on Monday.

Junior forward Diego Salazar found a goal on a long left-footed boot near the end of the first half, but the Hubs were unable to crack the Kaneland defense in the second half, conceding a 2-1 loss to the Knights for their first conference defeat of the season. Rochelle (6-4, 3-1 Interstate 8) will host a nonconference match against Belvidere on Saturday at 10 a.m.

“I thought we played excellent soccer today,” head coach Brad Male said. “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t get the ball into the net toward the end of the match and we had a few missed opportunities that we weren’t able to convert on that ultimately decided the match. We need to be able to finish in those situations. I think our communication could’ve been better and we need to have more of our shots be on target. We need to take more quality shots around the net.”

Despite outshooting the Knights 19-12 and earning four corner kicks in the match, Rochelle totaled only seven shots on goal while the Knights finished with eight. The Knights scored the first goal of the match midway through the first half, sending the ball into the Hub net during the 18th minute before following with another goal in the 32nd minute to surge ahead 2-0.

Eager to score and cut the Kaneland lead in half, Rochelle cranked up the urgency on the offensive end. The Hubs responded during the 38th minute, where freshman midfielder Heilly Zepeda gained possession and rolled a pass forward to Salazar, who caught the Knight defense on its heels with a long-range shot that soared over the head of the Kaneland keeper for a goal.

“I thought we played well back there defensively,” Male said. “It was unfortunate that they managed to sneak a couple of balls through and they took quality shots that we missed. Hopefully our team learned something from today and we can carry those lessons forward.”

Senior keeper Jarett Milan recorded five saves for the Hubs, who had four shots on goal during the second half but were unable to find the equalizer. Salazar led Rochelle with three shots on goal in the match, while sophomore forward Fernando Diaz finished with two shots on goal. The Hubs were without starting sophomore forward Alberto Casillas, who was out with an injury.


The Rochelle Hub varsity soccer team faced DeKalb in a nonconference road match on Saturday, falling 3-0 and finishing with nine shots. Senior keeper Jarett Milan recorded six saves for the Hubs, who totaled one shot on goal and two corner kicks in the loss to the Barbs.