Geneva senior Joshua Poythress has encountered a slow start before.
The fourth-year player was on the 2010 team that started 1-3-1 before rebounding to win a regional title.
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What Poythress had never done before was play a real soccer game on turf at Burgess Field, but then again neither had anyone else.
Poythress scored the first-ever goal on the new playing surface, converting a penalty kick with 6:50 remaining before halftime. The Vikings used his effort to shut out St. Charles North, 2-0, in Tuesday's Upstate Eight River Conference match.
"During his junior season he wasn't ready to play. He wasn't in good shape and you could tell he struggled," Geneva coach Ryan Estabrook said. "He did a lot of work this summer of getting into shape and I've been really proud of that young man. The past two games, he's worked tirelessly and if he continues to do that it makes our team that much better."
His penalty kick was far from a given, especially since the Vikings had failed on penalty kicks in their past two matches.
"It definitely gets in your head thinking about the last two we missed," he said. "I finally just had to step up and blast it into the net."
Poythress also contributed to Geneva's second goal of the game when he fed the ball to a sprinting Grant Bracken who caught the pass before sending a perfect cross to teammate Valentin "Tino" Gonzalez who buried the shot with just 57 seconds before halftime.
"Josh sent me a nice ball that curled around perfectly," Bracken said. "I thought the keeper was going to come out, but he didn't so I pushed it harder across the box and Tino was right there."
Sebastian Gostynski, Kyle Swanson, Justin Stanko, Phillip LeGare and Nolan Pellitier each had shot attempts for the North Stars in the second half, but came up empty.
St. Charles North (2-4-1, 0-2-0) was shut out for the third consecutive game.
"It's more of the same. Poor shape, poor defending and not really understanding the concept of a rivalry game," St. Charles North coach Eric Willson said. "I'm not happy at all with our performance."
Meanwhile, Geneva coach Ryan Estabrook was all smiles.
"This was definitely our best effort of the season," he said. "When you play a rivalry (game) you're more motivated and having the home field, we picked things up well and had emotion on our side."
Joe Mozden recorded the shutout in goal for the winners.