BURLINGTON – All Lucas Bass needs is a some open green grass in front of him and his speed can take care of the rest.
Bass, Kaneland’s senior forward, again exhibited his skill with a second-half goal in Kaneland’s 2-1 victory over Rochelle in a Class 2A Burlington Central Regional semifinal Wednesday.
“I finally got some space from a through ball from, I think, [Nicholas] Mitchinson,” Bass said. “The rest is history. I put it in, and it just felt good to finally get a goal since I’ve been kind of a drought.”
Luckily for Kaneland (11–9-1), the “drought” for Bass, who has more than 20 goals this season, lasted all of one game.
“It just feels good to get back in the swing of things, and it’s going to feel good on Saturday [to] come out at [3 p.m.] and play for that regional championship,” Bass said.
The Knights advance to face Boylan for the regional title Saturday. Boylan beat Burlington Central, 5-0, in Wednesday’s first semifinal.
“They looked good. They really do look good,” Bass said of Boylan, previewing the regional final matchup. “It’s going to be a tough game for us. I think we can pull it through.”
Kaneland played Rochelle (8-12) twice during the regular season, dominating the two meetings by a combined score of 19-4. But the Knights had a tough time in the first half establishing control, despite an opening goal from Sam Keen with 27:33 remaining in the half.
“I was trying to score a goal because maybe it could change the mood,” Keen said. “Normally, when we play this team, we should be dominating and I could tell that we weren’t. So, I had to try to make a change in the game.”
“I personally thought it was the lack of communication,” Keen said of the first half issues. “But we talked to each other. Coach [Scott Parillo] was telling us how we need to work more off of each other, not try play our own game and stuff like that. And we need to build as a team. That’s why I was trying to drop in and try to find little gaps. That’s my strong suit: Is finding passes. I like to pass a lot.”
Rochelle seemingly played with a spark late in the second half, and was finally rewarded for its effort on a goal from Alberto Casillas with 2:35 remaining in the half. About a regulation minute later, a Hubs header chance in traffic nearly bounced over the outstretched hand of Knights keeper Andrew Davison, but he got just enough air on the jump to corral it.
“[Wednesday], I think, is a testament to their commitment to it,” Rochelle coach Brad Male said. “We worked hard in practice knowing coming into this it was going to be a tough match, but they put the time in; were moving the ball, looking for each other and I think that showed a huge improvement from the last couple times.
“Our first half, I think we did a little better offensively. We kind of slowed down in the second half. But overall [I’m] very pleased with the way we played. It’s just we came up short.”