One of the biggest keys to this season's three-goal win by Rockelle over Morris was an incredibly quick start. That was in the first round of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East play between the two teams.
On Thursday afternoon in the second round of league play, the Hubs got the first goal of the game in the 13th minute when Alex Bueno scored on a throw in. In light of everything, things didn't exactly look that cheery for the Redskins at that moment.
However, it took exactly 26 seconds for the Redskins to respond to the opening goal when Ricardo Del Toro scored on a cross from Nestor Rodriguez. While the score remained that way at half, the Redskins managed to fight and claw their way to a 4-2 win in true redemptive style.
So was it the wind last time or the long bus ride to Rochelle that made the difference from last time to this?
"It's probably the field. We're not used to such a narrow field with a pitch, that's the biggest difference," Rochelle coach Keith Lamb said. "We just can't play on a field like this. We never seem to be able to adjust here."
Morris outscored Rochelle 3-1 in the second half, but the biggest point in the game could very well have been the quick answer to Rochelle's first goal.
"It happened to us against Ottawa," Morris coach David Valdivia said. "In soccer it seems like there is always a window within a few minutes after a goal where you will get a chance to score. I don't know, but it just ends up happening."
Morris senior midfielder Josh Schmitt said that when something like that happens, the sudden switch effects both teams.
"That's probably the best motivation you can get on the soccer field," he said. "When you get a score that quick, it stuns the other team and it's certainly motivation for you."
Valdivia said that watching Rochelle score the first goal of the game continued a trend he doesn't like seeing.
"My question to them is, 'Do you have to let someone score first for us to wake up,'" Valdivia said. "It's almost like they have to have it in order to get fired up. When we got the goal, it was good consecutive passing. We got a good outside long ball from Nestor and Ricardo scored on the cross. It's starting to be something we have been seeing quite regularly lately."
Tied at 1-all, Kyle Monk snapped the deadlock in the 53rd minute off an assist from Villanueva to make it 2-1.
"It came off a great cross," Monk said. "I knew the defender was close by and the keeper was out and all I had to do is get it past them. I got taken down on the play and never even saw it go in."
Rochelle tied the game up at 2-2 in the 62nd minute on a penalty kick by Jonathon Villalobos, but once again the Redskins were resilient.
Del Toro scored a little more than two minutes later in the next available "window" and Monk put the game away with a goal with slightly more than 10 minutes left to play. It was assisted by Del Toro.
"It was another great cross," Monk said. "The team has been great at crosses lately."
Valdivia said he was extremely pleased to see Monk succeed.
"I was very happy to see him get those goals," he said. "He's a soccer player who has worked hard, so it was nice to see that hard work pay off."