Boys Soccer: Rochelle takes third at War on 34 Championship

The Rochelle varsity boys soccer team went 2-1 at the 2019 War on 34 Championship this past week. The Hubs defeated Kewanee and Morris while falling against Geneseo. Rochelle placed third overall. (Courtesy photo)

Hubs collect victories over Kewanee, Morris

EARLVILLE — The Rochelle boys soccer team was unable to three-peat at the War on 34 Championship this season, but the Hubs performed well enough to win two games and take a 4-2 overall record into the start of Interstate Eight Conference play.

Rochelle started strong in its quest for a third straight tournament title. The Hubs cruised over Kewanee in the opening round, compiling their best offensive performance of the season to defeat the Boilermakers 8-3. Junior Brayan Orozco led Rochelle with three goals, while senior Max Torres added two goals and one assist. Senior Austin Brown facilitated the offense with three assists and one goal. Sophomores Josue Orozco and Caleb Ritter each scored once.

“We worked as a team and we used each other well,” head coach Brad Male said. “We controlled the midfield and we were on the attack for most of the game. It was nice to get some kids who normally don’t get playing time into the game.”

The Hubs faced former Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference rival Geneseo in the championship semifinals. Rochelle fought hard against the Maple Leafs, but the purple and white were unable to get on the scoreboard, losing 2-0 and falling into the consolation finals against I-8 opponent Morris. Senior Alexis Quintanilla recorded seven saves for the Hubs.

“Geneseo was the most even match we had,” Male said. “They got by us and scored a few times, but for the most part I thought we played well against them. They capitalized on their chances and we weren’t able to put anything in the goal.”

Rochelle closed out the tournament with a 3-0 victory over the Redskins, who the Hubs will face in I-8 Conference play on Thursday at home. Goals came from both Brayan Orozco and Josue Orozco, while freshman Jared Montano knocked in the first goal of his varsity career. Freshman Jace Whitehead recorded his first varsity assist in the win.

“We controlled the ball better than we did against Geneseo,” Male said. “Morris has a tough team. It was nice to see the kids regroup and continue on the path they’ve been going on. They just need to continue looking for each other and playing better as a team.”

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