Kaneland boys soccer coach Scott Parillo can't wait until Monday. He gets to have a practice.
The Knights won their second regional championship in three seasons Saturday, beating Burlington Central, 2-1, in the Class 2A Burlington Central regional title game.
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"My happiest words were, 'Practice on Monday,' " Parillo said. "That's an awesome feeling."
Kaneland (15-3-2) will be getting ready to face Freeport in the Sterling sectional semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Alex Gil got the top-seeded Knights on the board with 19:20 remaining in the first half. The senior fired a right-footed blast from about 30 yards out. Central goalkeeper Brett Rau had little chance as the shot stayed low and into the left corner.
As they have several times this season, the Knights increased the lead quickly. Just 1:15 after Gil's goal, Gil took a corner kick and Alec Koczka headed it home for a 2-0 Kaneland lead.
"It just has to be the momentum," Gil said of the back-to-back quick strikes. "The other team is just down at the time of the goal and we're fired up. It's all momentum."
The second-seeded Rockets cut the deficit to 2-1 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Bryce Warner ran down a bad touch near Kaneland's end line, kept the ball in play and sent a cross through the Knights' penalty area. The ball found Alan Camarena, who one-touched it into the net.
Kaneland sat back and just defended a lot in the second half, holding onto the 1-goal lead. Warner hit the side netting 30 seconds into the half and several other shots went high or wide. Warner nearly equalized with 15 seconds left in a scramble in the Knights' penalty area, but Kaneland goalkeeper Marshall Farthing got a hand on it and knocked it out of play.
"We just couldn't put the ball in the goal," Central coach Michael Gecan said. "Kind of been a thing we struggled with all season."
Rau made 3 saves for the Rockets (17-4-2). Farthing had 7 saves for Kaneland.