LASALLE — Despite starting 0-2 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 West, the Rochelle varsity girls soccer team had its best chance of the season to lock up a conference victory when the Lady Hubs traveled to face LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday.
Senior Olivia Piloni scored two goals to give Rochelle a 2-1 lead during the second half, but the Cavaliers evened the game in the 70th minute to avoid the loss, drawing the Lady Hubs by a score of 2-2 to move Rochelle to 2-4-1 on the season. The shots on goal were almost even, with the Lady Hubs going 10-for-12 in that category and the Cavaliers finishing 10-for-11. Junior Viviana Belmonte recorded eight saves for Rochelle.
“Their playing style is very similar to ours,” head coach Brad Male said. “They keep the ball outside and they move the ball really well. I thought the field conditions weren’t ideal for either team so it was tough to get passes down. It was hard to control the ball, and there was some wind as well, but I thought both teams were pretty evenly matched.”
Unlike Rochelle’s previous two conference games, the Lady Hubs struck first on Tuesday, with Piloni scoring on sophomore Vianey Perusquia’s assist to put Rochelle ahead 1-0 in the ninth minute. A foul inside the Rochelle penalty area soon after allowed the Cavaliers to tie the game 1-1 on a penalty kick in the 12th minute.
Rochelle answered with a penalty kick of its own, however, as Piloni converted the chance and gave her team a 2-1 advantage in the 24th minute. The Lady Hubs shut down LaSalle-Peru for nearly 50 minutes before the Cavaliers managed to break through with their second game-tying goal in the 70th minute.
“Olivia’s really an all-around player and we feel that she can play any position,” Male said. “We’re looking for a little more offense from her, and she’s an aggressive player who has good ball-handling skills. We’re looking for her to control the offense and distribute the ball as well as putting some good shots on goal.”