Boys soccer: Jahns' late goal lifts Kaneland over Marmion
Kaneland is on the kind of roll where even when things aren't going exactly like the Knights want, they find a way to win.
Kaneland did just that again Wednesday in the semifinals of its own Class 2A regional.
Tied at 1-1 against Marmion with the game on the verge of overtime, Kaneland sophomore Tucker Jahns had other ideas.
Jahns won a race to a ball deep on the Marmion end. With a defender all over him and near the end line, Jahns managed to gain possession and just enough space to get a foot on the ball and cut a shot at a tough angle past the Cadet keeper.
That goal, his 24th of the season, put Kaneland ahead 2-1 with 2:09 remaining. The Cadets couldn't come up with the equalizer, sending No. 2 seed Kaneland (14-3-1) into the regional championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday against No. 6 Rochelle, a 3-0 winner over No. 3 Sterling.
"He finds a way to win, finds a way to score, he's willing himself to get the goal," Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. "He's been that way all year. He's a tough kid."
So tough that he stayed in the game after a collision moments earlier when he went up for header and got poked in the eye.
"I was seeing two of everything," Jahns said. "But I did not want to come off. I wanted the game-winning goal and my team to advance."
After a scoreless first half with Marmion playing with the wind, Kaneland scored 7 minutes after halftime on Zach Smith's header on a pass from Brian Bartholomew.
No. 10 seed Marmion (5-13-1) tied the game with 15 minutes left when James Lawinger passed ahead to Ian Swindle, who made a quick move past his defender before firing the game-tying goal.
"It was a matter of chances," Marmion coach Jimmy Romano said. "When it is your moment you need to make something happen. I told them they needed to make big plays throughout the game. Kaneland capitalized on two of theirs and we didn't capitalize on ours and that's what it comes down to in the playoffs. Chances and who puts them away, and they put theirs away late."
Kaneland keeper Hunter Smith made several tough saves especially in the first half.
"Hunter played well, he has always played well for us," Parillo said. "We're generally a second half team anyway so if we can hold a team scoreless and we're battling a 20-something mile an hour wind, we usually feel pretty confident we'll be OK."
Kaneland, now 13-0-2 in last 15 games with its first Northern Illinois Big IX East title, will be playing for its fifth regional crown. The Knights defeated Rochelle 4-3 in conference play.
They will be without Ulysses Herrera who along with Marmion's Jack Kavanaugh received a red card with just nine seconds left in the match.
"The last 9 seconds just got ugly and it was nonsense and shouldn't have gone that way for either team," Parillo said. "I think both teams are better than that. That's unfortunate."
Marmion will return most of its lineup next year; the Cadets only had 4 seniors.
"It was a tough season for us," Romano said. "We have a young team. It was a learning experience. We had a very tough schedule. These guys battled through the whole season even though we had a losing record. They did what they could."