Boys Soccer: Kaneland’s two quick goals sink Burlington CentralKaneland's Alec Koczka (20) celebrates his goal against Burlington-Central at the Burlington Regional Final in Burlington on Saturday, October 20, 2012 | Sean King~For Sun-Times Media.
Updated: October 20, 2012 7:32PM
When Kaneland’s Alex Gil scored from in front off an assist by Ben Longson with 19:20 left in the first half Saturday against Burlington Central, Knights coach Scott Parillo expected more — and soon.
Parillo was right as Alec Koczka connected on a header only 1:15 after Gil’s score, and the two goals gave the Knights what they needed to withstand a Rockets comeback attempt for a 2-1 victory in the championship of the Class 2A Burlington Central Regional.
“We just score in bunches,” Parillo said. “We either score two or three goals quickly or we don’t score at all. We don’t score a whole bunch, but when we do it’s boom-boom.”
The Knights, winning a regional for the second time in three years, advanced to the Sterling Sectional to play Freeport on Wednesday at 4:30. They may not have made it except for some alert play in goal by Marshall Farthing at the end of the match.
Farthing punched one ball away that popped in front of the net with 14 minutes to play, and then with 26 seconds left made a save when Central star Bryce Warner tried kicking in a shot back over his head from in a crowd while falling to his back after a Rockets corner kick.
“I didn’t see it at first,” Farthing said. “I saw it come through at the last second and just stuck my hands out and at the last second was able to deflect it. It wasn’t hit real hard but the fact that it went through some people made it tough to see.”
Warner suffered from a hamstring pull in the match and had to come out in the second half, but was able to return for a last scoring bid after he had made a perfect sliding assist from near the goal line at the goal box on teammate Alan Camarena’s goal with 10 minutes left in the first half.
“It (Warner’s injury) definitely took a little bit away from the offense,” Central coach Mike Gecan said. “I think both teams came out extra flat. I think the game was wide open and they seized the opportunity before we did.”
The second goal, which proved decisive, featured a set play the Knights (15-3-2) call a strength. Gil sent a corner kick in toward the net. Koczka was able to score on a header for the third time this season off a corner kick.
“On our set plays, we try to finish it,” Koczka said. “We always crash the goal. Me and the other defenders who are all over 6-foot tall, it gives us an advantage and we are able to try to finish it.
“Coach told us (Friday) they weren’t good at marking up on set plays and I saw them leaving me open at the top of the 18. I saw Alex give me a perfect ball and I capitalized.”
Central (17-4-2) kept pressing in the second half but couldn’t connect.
“The whole half was down in their end,” Gecan said. “They might have got one shot or two shots the entire half. ... We just couldn’t put the ball in the goal.
“It’s been a thing been we’ve been struggling with the whole season. We just don’t know how to put the ball in the goal.”
Parillo tipped his cap to Central, which came in seeded second to his first-seeded team.
“That’s just a fabulous team,” he said of the Rockets. “They’ve got a great coach. He and I know each other very, very well.
“These are the worst games to win, against your friends. Somebody had to win it and fortunately it was us this year. In other years, we haven’t been as fortunate.”