To say goals are hard to come by when Kaneland and DeKalb's girls soccer teams get together is a bit of an understatement.
Make that a major understatement.
The Knights and Barbs entered their second Northern Illinois Big XII East meeting Monday in Maple Park with the conference title on the line.
For the second time this season, the teams fought from one end of the field to the other, pushed each other at times, drew numerous yellow cards on both squads, and generally left everything they had on the field -- but neither team found the back of the net.
The 0-0 tie clinched at least a share of the conference crown for Kaneland (13-2-2, 7-0-2) who can win it outright Tuesday against with a win or tie against Sycamore.
DeKalb (10-3-4, 5-0-4) has only allowed 1 goal in conference play while Kaneland has yet to be scored on.
That's 1,440 minutes of combined soccer and 1 goal let in.
"Very stout defending on both ends," DeKalb coach Phil Rouse said. "With the draw we can always take away positives. We had an outstanding defensive match. We've proven we can keep clean shutouts. Now we need to take steps forward on what we need to improve."
Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Chapman kept DeKalb scoreless with the help of her defenders including Nicole Koczka, Taylor Zitkus, Heather Ortiz, Delaney Stryczek and Emily Grams.
Zitkus left the game with about 30 minutes left of the game after taking a hard fall colliding with a DeKalb player. She wasn't the only Knight who limped off the field.
"DeKalb is always one of the more physical teams we play," Kaneland senior Brittany Ortiz said. "We're both huge rivals and we both wanted to win. I like a physical game. Those are my favorite."
Kaneland played with the wind in the first half and controlled play. Neither team, though, had many quality scoring chances.
The Knights hesitated on a couple of their better opportunities while the windy day made it a challenge for both teams to keep their passes on target.
The second half began with a yellow cards on both teams.
"It's typical of two teams wanting to go out and win a conference championship," Rouse said. "They were ahead of us in the ranks and we wanted to come in and prove we were right there with them."
As the Knights worked even harder to put a goal on the board in the final 20 minutes, they did come close. Courtney Diddell hit a number of crosses from the right side into the box that her teammates couldn't quite finish.
Brittany Olson had her shot saved after taking a pass from Grams with about 15 minutes left. Michelle Ortiz made a long run but her shot sailed over the net.
Perhaps the Knights' best chance came on one of Diddell's long crosses that found Olson on the far corner for a header that just missed.
"We tried our hardest but couldn't put one in the back of the net," Olson said.
Kaneland coach Scott Parrillo had to leave right after the game for an all-sectional meeting. His assistant Ken Bickley said he knew it was going to be a tough match with the Barbs as many of the players on the two teams play club and indoor soccer together.
"We wish we could have capitalized," said Bickley, who felt like the Knights controlled most of the play.
Bickley pointed to Brittany Olson as one of the team's bright spots.
With two 0-0 ties in the books, there's a chance for Kaneland and DeKalb to play one more time this year. The teams both earned No. 1 seeds in their respective Class 2A regionals and would meet in a sectional semifinal at Hampshire if they advance.
"It's been a goal for us all season to get to a sectional match," Rouse said. "We're really hoping we get the opportunity to play them again."