Boys soccer: St. Charles North ties Geneva with late goal

By Steve Nemeth
Daily Herald Correspondent

Ties are a matter of view and there were several following Tuesday's 1-1 deadlock between St. Charles North and host Geneva.

"We're still undefeated (in the new DuKane Conference)," Geneva coach Jason Bhatta said with a smile and sincerity.

While the Vikings have had a brutal schedule resulting in a 1-6-2 overall record, they are 0-0-2 in the new loop. Better yet, since snapping a six-game skid, Geneva is unbeaten (1-0-2) in its last three outings.

Not only did the North Stars (7-3-1, 0-1-1) dominate statistically, the outcome was testimony to perseverance. North's Thomas Weber pounced on a block for the equalizer with just 5:43 left in regulation. And Parker Kolb put a cannon volley off the right post with just 4.8 seconds left to keep the fans on the edge of their seats to the very end.

"Oddly enough, walking away from this I don't feel upset," North coach Eric Willson said. "We had chance after chance, kept knocking on the door to the last seconds. Take away three mistakes in the span of 15 seconds in the first half and we dominated."

That was a reference to Geneva's one and only shot on goal in the first half, a counter attack that resulted in a goal 12:44 into the match. Joey Carli's through ball sprung Colin Fromm on a run to the right side and his textbook cross was hammered home by Jack Belloli for his second goal of the year.

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"Every practice coach says if you put in the extra effort, you won't feel pain or be tired, and that's exactly what happened," Belloli said. "Making that 50 yard run turned into a great reward."

The statistical contrast was obvious. North put 11 of its 16 overall shots on goal in that first half, but Viking goalie Chris Morales stopped all 11, but only one of two in the second half. The North Stars finished with a 22-6 advantage for overall attempts and a 13-4 edge in shots on goal, plus a 5-0 count for corner kicks.

"It's both a positive and a negative," Morales said of the draw. "Considering how hard we fought and were leading, it feels like it's on me. No matter how many saves you make or how often you dive, you just get back up on adrenaline."

Morales was tested throughout the match, but in particular during the last 10 minutes as North attacked in quest of an equalizer. That came on a Matt Baulieu blast that was blocked but not quite caught.


"When Matt shoots and it's not a goal, often there's a rebound," Weber noted. "I took a chance and just jumped on the rebound."

North was fresh off winning two of three matches in Louisville and now has a week before hosting Lake Park in another DuKane meeting.

Geneva welcomes former Upstate Eight Conference squad South Elgin on Thursday aiming to extend the unbeaten string to four straight.

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