SYCAMORE – Jameson Carl believes in Sycamore teammate Aiden Sears.
Carl watched Sears slice his way through the Kaneland defense before Sears dished off a pass to him, and Carl finished inside the near post early in Monday’s Interstate 8 Conference match.
Carson Matthews also scored midway through the first half off a Sears assist as Sycamore blanked Kaneland 2-0 at Joe Jordan Field.
This was the game we all wanted to win. A little revenge. We were prepared. We were ready.”— Aiden Sears, Sycamore sophomore
“I have faith in [Sears] to get through all the defenders,” Carl said. “When I saw him dribble, I knew to make the run in the box, and then I was just there for an easy tap. All I had to do was finish it out.”
The longer Sears was able to possess, the more dangerous the Spartans became.
“He was marked, but then the guy went away from him,” Knights coach Scott Parillo said. “You do that, and they are going to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Sycamore (8-7-1, 5-1 I-8) extended its lead with 20:38 remaining in the first half. Carl’s corner kick into the box went to Sears, who redirected it perfectly to Matthews, who was right there to plant it into the back of the net with authority.
“It was right there,” he said. “I just had to finish it.”
A couple of assists to beat the Knights was exactly what Sears was hoping for after the Spartans dropped the previous meeting this month on PKs after battling to a 1-1 tie.
“I’m pretty happy,” he said. “This was the game we all wanted to win. A little revenge. We were prepared. We were ready.”
Kaneland (7-7-2, 5-2) had some scoring chances, but the finishing remained elusive.
“We had some opportunities, but that’s been par for the course,” Parillo said. “We outshot Morris 40-2, and all 40 of those shots were on frame but right at the goalie, and we lose 2-1. It’s kind of been our theme right now. We’re not finishing well enough.”
Ryan Guzinski finished strong in net for the Spartans in place of the injured Jesse Munoz to earn the shutout.
“There were a couple of times when he came out at the right time and blocked a shot,” Spartans coach Kevin Bickley said. “I thought that was key to keeping the clean sheet.”
Unlike what they have done at times earlier this fall, Sycamore didn’t allow Kaneland to get back into the game.
“We’ve been in this situation three times where we were up 2-0 and then let the other team back in it,” Bickley said. “So there was a big focus at halftime about how it’s not a 40-minute game, it’s 80 minutes, and [Kaneland] can score pretty quickly, so we don’t want to let them back in the game.”
Kaneland will look to rebound with a hunger to return to the win column.
“There’s a difference between being technical and wanting it more,” Kaneland senior Sam Keen said. “Right now we need guys who want it more.”