MAPLE PARK — It took over 2 hours to decide Saturday’s IHSA Class 2A Regional Championship between the Hubs varsity soccer team and the Kaneland Knights.
Tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, Rochelle and Kaneland battle for 40 more minutes across two overtime periods, but neither team was able to score the deciding goal and take the regional title. The match went to a shootout, and after besting the Hubs 4-2 in penalty kicks, the Knights emerged victorious on their home field.
“I thought our boys were awesome,” Rochelle head coach Brad Male said. “I thought we dominated the game. We pretty much possessed the ball for two-thirds of the time. We played excellent soccer, and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t put something in late to avoid the shootout.”
Rochelle (12-8-1) and Kaneland met earlier this season, with the Knights breaking a tie late in the second half to win by a score of 5-4 at Kaneland High School. Saturday’s match proved to be far tougher offensively for both teams, and after the Hubs shut out Sterling 3-0 to reach the regional finals, Male said his boys were sharp on the defensive end once again.
“We played the ball a little bit wider and took advantage of the field width,” Male said. “I think we were communicating more and we played better as a team. We came in with a different mindset… They played an awesome game.”
Kaneland (1’) took the lead immediately, but the Hubs tied the match 1-1 after junior Jessee Infante connected with fellow junior Adolfo Flores (32’). The Knights quickly regained the lead with another goal (36’) and held a 2-1 advantage at halftime, only for Rochelle freshman Brayan Orozco (51’) to equalize the match early in the second half.