Boys soccer: Sycamore blanks Kaneland
With defense dominating the boys soccer teams from Kaneland and Sycamore, each team had to use dead ball plays Thursday afternoon for scoring opportunities.
Sycamore capitalized on penalty and corner kicks to shut out Kaneland, 3-0 on its home pitch in a Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division match.
The Spartans ended the scoreless duel in the 32nd minute on a penalty kick by Matt Coulibaly. The senior midfielder knocked the ball into the right corner of the net just out the reach of Knights goalkeeper Hunter Smith (7 saves).
Sycamore (3-2-1, 2-0) scored its second goal on its eighth corner kick of the game early in the second half. After being foiled by Kaneland's defense in the first 40 minutes, sophomore Issac Plagakis's boot from the far corner found Coulibaly, who headed the ball into the back of the net. The tally was Coulibaly's seventh goal of the season.
"I've come to believe that about 50 percent of all goals in high school get scored on dead balls so we work on those plays. It's just consistency," said Sycamore coach David Bachta.
The Spartans scored their final goal in a more conventional fashion at the 22 minute mark of the second half. Drew Tronc, dribbling the ball down the center of the field, escaped his defender and knocked the ball in from the penalty line.
Most of the action took place on Kaneland's side of the pitch. When the Knights did move the ball into Sycamore's territory, the Spartans back line made it tough for Kaneland (1-3-1, 1-1) to finish its plays.
"We've got a good core in the back, four, five, six guys that really understand their roles," Bachta said. "And as long as they do that, then we will be successful."
The Knights' best scoring opportunity game midway in the second half on a free kick. Devin Pieczynski's shot from about 40 yards out sailed over three Sycamore defenders, but was stopped by Spartan goalkeeper Patrik Smith (4 saves).
"I guess we didn't come out with the right intensity. That's got to be my fault, apparently I didn't get them prepared enough," said Kaneland coach Scott Parillo. "So it's back to the drawing board and we'll see what we can do. There's not a whole lot of time to dwell on it. We've got a game tomorrow and a game on Saturday, so we got to move past it."