Geneva and Kaneland left Maple Park in a 1-1 tie Thursday, each soccer team lamenting a golden opportunity that could have turned the outcome in their favor.
The Vikings (0-3-1) missed a penalty kick with 25 minutes remaining while the Knights (2-1-2) shot mere inches over the crossbar from point-blank range with 9 minutes left.
"It's frustrating I'm sure for (Geneva coach) Ryan (Estabrook), they missed the PK," Knights coach Scott Parillo said. "I'm frustrated we're three inches from the goal and we kick it over. That would have been amazing."
It also would have given the Knights their first win ever over Geneva. As it turned out, the tie still goes down as the best result they've have had against a school that regularly beat them 7-0 years ago and was still consistently winning 4-2, 2-1 type games when the Western Sun Conference was still alive.
"Maybe some day," Parillo said. "Maybe next year because we go to their place next year, we've got a two-year contract. It was fun, it was a good experience. Pretty happy, but we really wanted that win."
Kaneland just about had it when Alex Gil crossed a ball from the right side to Kushtrim Ismaili who fired just over the crossbar.
That came after a handball on the Knights gave Geneva's Matt Butz a penalty kick. Butz shot right and Kaneland goalie Marshall Farthing dove to his left for the save.
"He didn't hit the ball very solid," Estabrook said. "The keeper was moving side to side and I think my guy overthought it at little and didn't get a good strike on the ball."
Parillo has seen Farthing do that many times before on PKs including last weekend at the Jacobs tournament.
"He's a good kid, he's great at stopping PKs," Parillo said. "He gets in their heads. That's nothing new, we practice them every day."
Geneva had been controlling play before the PK. Farthing's save seemed to give the Knights a boost and they had the majority of opportunities the rest of the day. None of them could beat Geneva keeper Joe Mozden.
"Soccer is very mental that way," Estabrook said. "When you don't convert a penalty kick it makes the other team feel like they scored. The energy level shifts at that point. I think that changed the outcome of the game for Kaneland for sure. It gave Kaneland a lot more confidence going forward at that point, and you have to give credit for them for battling the way they did today."
Phelipe Graske put Geneva on the board first when he notched his first goal of the season on an assist from senior captain David Goodyear. Kaneland didn't have many chances in the first half but Ismaili made a nice move when he turned and fired to tie the game 1-1 with 7:46 left before halftime. Sam Rymarz assisted.
That turned out to be the last goal for either team, and the tie turned out to give each team something they can build on.
"I thought we played well as a whole," Parillo said. "I'm happy for us and I'm happy for Geneva too. I know they are struggling a little and maybe they can go on a nice winning steak now that they are done playing us."
Geneva certainly wouldn't mind that coming off an 8-1 loss to Larkin earlier this week.
"We're frustrated about being 0-3 but this was a good game for us," Graske said. "I think this was our best game and we're looking to keep going with this.
"Coming out this game we really focused on playing as a team. We really communicated with each other and connected passes very well."
Kaneland sent a lot of players forward during the match giving Geneva opportunities at counters. Estabrook was disappointed the Vikings couldn't finish.
"Our guys ran out of legs and didn't have the composure in the final 18 yards to get the quality shots," Estabrook said. "It's unfortunate because we created a lot but can't find the back of the net regularly."
Estabrook was glad to get Brian Pacilio, coming back from a bad knee injury, in his defensive unit for just the second game of the season.
"He did a nice job of leading us in the back," Estabrook said. "He was vocal, had us organized. He's the heart of that defense. He doesn't have all his confidence in his physical abilities yet but he makes up for it in his leadership abilities."
Both teams get back in action Friday. The Vikings head to St. Louis for games against Chaminade and Springfield, Mo., while the Knights have a shorter trip to play Hinckley-Big Rock.