MAPLE PARK – Plan B turned out pretty well for Ignacio Toscano and the Kaneland boys soccer team.
The senior midfielder took a detour that paid off handsomely with about 23 minutes left in the second half of Kaneland’s 2-1, Northern Illinois Big 12 East win against Sycamore.
“I made my run to the corner looking to cross it at first, but the ball wasn’t there yet,” Toscano said. “So I came back up on top of the box, and I asked Anthony [Parillo], who was in possession of the ball, I asked him for the ball, and I took two steps into the middle, and I just let it rip. I put it upper-90 and got the winning goal.”
The Knights (9-5-4, 6-2-2) hope the victory, giving them a series sweep over the struggling Spartans (2-18-1, 1-8-1), foreshadows Wednesday’s IHSA Class 2A Sycamore Regional semifinal in which the Knights and Spartans will clash for a third time.
Except next time, Toscano hopes Kaneland doesn’t have to sweat breaking a second-half deadlock.
“That’s an inferior team to us, honestly,” Toscano said. “We weren’t playing Kaneland soccer in the first half, and then second half, I feel we came more together.”
Kaneland produced several strong scoring chances in the first 20 minutes but only capitalized on one of them, an Arsim Azemi score off Adhurim Azemi’s assist.
The Spartans tied the match with 21:47 to play in the first half on a sharp-angle goal from Jacob Bassett.
Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said he went with a more senior-dominated lineup than usual for longer stretches on the Knights’ senior day.
“It was important for the seniors to get their playing time, and it was important for them to get a victory on their last time out here,” Parillo said.
One of those seniors, Tyler Siebert, was immediately substituted out after starting the match. Siebert injured his foot in Tuesday’s win against Yorkville.
Parillo said he hopes to have Siebert available for regionals next week.
When the teams reconvene, Lichamer expects a more inspired showing, both ways.
“Maybe both sides weren’t necessarily going after every tackle as hard as they could, going after every 50/50 as hard as they could,” Lichamer said. “So I think Wednesday you’ll see perhaps the best that each team has to offer.”