MAPLE PARK – The first varsity soccer game for Rochelle’s Brian Garcia was a real baptism by fire.
Kaneland peppered the freshman Thursday as the Knights won the Northern Illinois Big 12 East contest, 4-0.
“He did a very good job for the first time. He wasn’t nervous at all,” Rochelle coach Keith Lamb said. ”He was [nervous] on the way over but once I think he got into the game, he calmed down.”
Because of injuries, Garcia is the fifth keeper this season for the Hubs.
A long day started early for Rochelle (3-12-2, 0-7-1) as the Knights scored their first goal just 20 seconds into the contest.
Tyler Siebert kicked the ball in from the right side of the post after receiving a cross-net pass from Ignacio Toscano.
“I took the ball down the line, left mid and I sprinted down to the corner and put into the box,” Toscano said. “Siebert finished. He capitalized on it.”
“That’s what we normally work on at the beginning of the game,” Siebert said. “We go up and pressure with high intensity and try to get that first goal right away.”
It then took Kaneland (7-5-3, 4-2-2 NI Big 12 East) 15 minutes to score their next goal. They increased their lead to 2-0 with 4:34 left in the half.
After battling defenders swarming in front of the goal, Toscano booted the ball in.
“It was kind a fluke, but it went in,” Toscano said of the score. “It seemed like we didn’t know what happened, but I got the last touch and it bounced across the line.”
Toscano and Siebert reversed roles on the third score, combining for a score 30 minutes into the second half.
“I got a ball in from Siebert and put in,” Toscano said of his second goal. “He returned the favor.”
Arsim Azemi scored the final goal with 3:12 left to play.
Garcia blocked a shot with his body that bounced back and hit Azemi, who was in front of the net. The forward quickly booted the ball back toward the goal and past Garcia.
“Kaneland did a very good job of moving and passing the ball,” Lamb said. “We were not able to compete with that.”
“It wasn’t the prettiest of wins,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. “We really need to finish when we have the opportunity. It’s kind of been the storyline all season.”
Kaneland’s midfield stymied Rochelle as most of the action was on the Hubs’ side of the field.
“Obviously we dominated. They didn’t get too much on us,” Parillo said. “Possession was probably about 80-20.”