ROCHELLE — Monday was the final home game for many players on the Rochelle varsity girls soccer team including Wisconsin-Stevens Point commit Olivia Piloni, who did everything she could to carry the Lady Hubs to a conference victory when the purple and white hosted their annual Senior Night game against LaSalle-Peru.
Piloni was the one-woman wrecking ball that broke down the LaSalle-Peru defensive wall throughout the first half. The senior forward scored three goals to keep Rochelle tied 3-3 with the Cavaliers at halftime, but LaSalle-Peru’s endurance showed in the second half, as the Cavaliers outscored the Lady Hubs 4-0 to win 6-3 and drop Rochelle to 2-13-2 on the season.
“Our senior leadership on the field has been outstanding,” head coach Brad Male said. “Olivia’s played for four years and Sarah [Craven] has played for three years. Cora [Martinez] and Keelyn [Sarmiento] have shown great leadership. Our seniors have done an exceptional job this season, and hopefully we can have some girls step up and fill their roles next year.”
Trailing 1-0 after the Cavaliers scored the opening goal in the ninth minute, Piloni found space in the middle of the LaSalle-Peru defense and carved through the line, scoring unassisted to tie the game 1-1 in the 13th minute. Rochelle took its first lead of the game in the 23rd minute after sophomore Vianey Perusquia threw the ball inbounds from the left sideline to Piloni, who moved through the Cavalier defense another time and scored to put the Lady Hubs up 2-1.
“Olivia is the type of player who’s every coach’s dream,” Male said. “I wish we had three Olivias up top. She reads the game so well, and I wish her the best of luck in the future. I know she’ll do well at the next level.”
The back-and-forth first half continued with a quick rebound from LaSalle-Peru after the Cavaliers scored in the 24th minute to even the game at 2-2. In the 29th minute, Piloni juked her way around two LaSalle-Peru defenders and hooked a left-footed shot into the right corner of the Cavalier net to push Rochelle back ahead 3-2.
The Lady Hubs carried their one-goal lead into the second half, but the Cavaliers were simply too conditioned for the Rochelle defense. LaSalle-Peru tied the game 3-3 in the 41st minute before scoring three unanswered goals in the 61st, 76th and 77th minutes to seal its victory over the Lady Hubs. Rochelle finished 0-7-1 in its final year as a member of the Northern Illinois Big 12 West.