Boys soccer: Geneva tops Bartlett in battle of underdogs

 
By Jared Birchfield
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/23/2021 7:40 PM

With the field announcer counting down the final seconds of Saturday's Class 3A regional championship match at Burgess Field, Bartlett made one last attempt to tie the contest and force extra time.

Oscar Medina dribbled through Geneva's defense and passed the ball to Edwin Moral. From 10 yards out the senior took a shot. The ball went wide left and was smothered by Vikings goalkeeper Hayden Vostal as the final horn sounded to preserve his team's lead.

 

With the 1-0 win, Geneva earned the regional plaque and extended its streak of games without a loss to nine.

"We did just what we have been doing the last eight games, playing solid defense," Geneva coach Jason Bhatta said. "Also, we can get a goal in a variety of ways whether it's on a free kick or a throw-in or we're just getting the goal during the run of play."

Stretching the streak to 10 will be challenging as the Vikings' next match, an Addison Trail sectional semifinal on Wednesday, is against DuKane Conference Champion and No. 2 seed St. Charles East.

The Saints were the last team to beat the 11th-seeded Geneva (9-7-5) back on Sept. 23.

Bartlett, ranked 14th in sectional, upset No. 3 seed Addison Trail to advance to the regional final. The Hawks ended their season with a 6-16-1 record.

The Vikings scored their goal at the 10:13 mark of the first half. Clayton Williams' throw-in near the 20-yard marker on the left side of the field found its way to Braeden McPheron, who was just outside of the right goal post. The senior defender tapped it in.

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"That's been my position every time on set pieces. I just sit back post and just wait for anything to come through and if it comes through, I finish it like I did there," McPheron said. "It bounced and I just poked it in with my foot."

"We knew they had couple of set plays for free kicks which we shut down but eventually if you keep giving up throw-ins, which were there pretty much planned like corners, they would knock one in," said Bartlett coach Vince Revak. "We fell asleep in the back post and that's all it took."

Neither side dominated in the first half. Geneva took control in the second 40 minutes with most of the action being on Bartlett's side of the pitch.

The Vikings had several shots on goal in the opening minutes of the half but were unable to score. Geneva's best chance was in the 44th minute. Ryan Leak crossed to Christian Diaz, who took a shot from 10 yards out. His attempt was punched away by goalkeeper Anthony Mellace.

"(In the second half) I really stressed that we keep momentum going by winning 50/50 balls and by winning balls out of the air and I think we did that," said Bhatta. "In the last 15 minutes we kept the ball in their half. When you do things like that, you keep the momentum, and you keep the play going your way."

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