The Kaneland boys soccer team has never played for a sectional championship.
That will all change on Friday night.
Kaneland (16-3-2) received a goal via header from senior Alex Gil nearly midway through the second half and it proved to be all it would need in a 1-0 victory over Freeport in Tuesday's Class 2A Sterling sectional semifinal.
"It wasn't the most pretty match," Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said, "But, as long as you score, and outscore them, that's all that matters."
The game-winner/lone goal was initiated on a corner kick. The Pretzels were able to bat the ball away, but the Knights recovered and were able to send it toward the goal.
Once again the Pretzels were able to push the ball further away from the goal, but not far enough as the ball came back into the penalty area and Gil was able to smack it in.
"It seemed like the ball was in the box forever," Parillo said. "For whatever reason they couldn't get it out and we were able to convert it. Luckily it was the only goal of the game."
Freeport (8-15-0) had the wind at its back for the opening half and controlled play for the most part. The Pretzels had two great scoring chances in the opening 40 minutes but Kaneland senior goalkeeper Marshall Farthing denied both of them.
"We were the aggressors in the first half but (Farthing) was excellent," Freeport coach Nick Namio said. "He was able to get his arm on the one which was a one-on-one and the second one he was able to corral too."
The Knights turned things around in the second half and pretty much controlled the possession game, and then enjoyed the comfort of at least playing with a lead for the final 25 minutes.
"They were more aggressive and won more 50/50 balls then us in the first half but then we made some adjustments in the second half," Parillo said. "We started to pass the ball better and clicked better. Freeport didn't do a lot in the second half as we really dominated and then were able to ride it out."
The Knights move on to face East Moline (United) on Friday, which spanked Rochelle, 5-1 in Wednesday's nightcap. A rematch with the Hubs would've given the Knights the advantage of familiarity. Instead, they'll face an East Moline (United) squad they know little about.
"I had never seen them before but they look pretty good," Parillo said. "Of course, when you get down this far, everyone should be good."
Which the Knights are as they continue to travel deeper into the playoffs where they have never been before.