With DeKalb firmly at the top of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East soccer standings, what’s left is a fight for second place. That’s what was at stake Tuesday when Kaneland came to town to take on Morris.
Last time in Kaneland, the two played to a one-all tie. It was another tight match, only this time the Knights came away with a 3-2 decision on Redskins Field.
“I was pretty confident that the guys could beat this team coming in,” Morris coach David Valdivia said.
Kaneland scored the first goal of the game, only to have Morris bounce back to take a 2-1 lead before halftime. Ricardo Del Toro scored in the 11th minute, just two minutes after the Kaneland goal by Arsim Azemi, Morris’ Kyle Schroder scored in the 28th minute to give the Redskins the lead.
“It felt pretty good. A cross came in and the goalie dropped it,” Schroder said. “And I kicked it in.”
Although the Redskins went into halftime with the lead, the Knights made the second half their crusade.
Angel Escontrias scored in the 48th minute for Kaneland and then again with 21:58 left to play to provide the margin of victory.
With 10:55 left, Kaneland had to protect the one-goal lead down a player after a red card was issued.
“We shouldn’t have been a man down but we had to deal with it,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. “We came back and took the lead … this time we kept the lead. I’m proud of the boys for the way they faced adversity.”
“In the last 10 minutes, we were playing kickball,” Valdivia said. “We’re not going to win playing like that. They know how to pass the ball, but they just panicked.”
Kaneland is now 6-5-3 overall and 3-2-2 in league play. Morris is now 11-2-4 overall and 5-2-1 in the conference.
Valdivia doesn’t want this to be a bellwether event for his Redskins.
“I told the team afterwards that they panicked,” he said. “We had the numbers up and were playing good, but they freaked out. When it comes down to playing in the regional and the sectional, we can’t panic. Especially when we play teams like Kaneland and DeKalb. We have to find a rhythm in the last 25 minutes ... passing the ball, doing your job, getting the ball to the outside guy ... when we have possession, the other team can’t score.”
Morris is at Yorkville on Thursday.