SOMONAUK – Every team handles adversity differently.
During Monday’s Little Ten Conference match, the Somonauk boys soccer team turned a negative into a positive midway into the second half against rival Earlville and came away with a 6-2 victory.
The Bobcats led, 3-0, early in the second half but after the Red Raiders scored a pair of goals to get within striking distance [3-2] the hosts were issued a red card to go down a player for the rest of the match.
But despite the setback, Somonauk (12-1) scored three times in the final 20:49 while holding the visitors to only one good scoring chance to extend its overall winning streak to 11 games, keeping a perfect mark on their home pitch (8-0) and in league play (5-0).
“I was especially happy with our response after the red card and going a man down up one goal and 20 minutes to play. From that point forward, we scored three and allowed none. I think that shows our guys’ character, their soccer ability, and I feel like it had an amazing focusing effect for us. We turned that adversity into a triumph, and I couldn’t be happier for the result.”
— Somonauk coach Jonathan Liechty
“I feel like we came out a little slow and sluggish the first 18-19 minutes but picked things up after that,” Somonauk coach Jonathan Liechty said. “I was especially happy with our response after the red card and going a man down up one goal and 20 minutes to play. From that point forward, we scored three and allowed none. I think that shows our guys’ character, their soccer ability, and I feel like it had an amazing focusing effect for us.
“We turned that adversity into a triumph, and I couldn’t be happier for the result. This has been a great rivalry game the past couple of decades. It’s always a game I know our players look forward to, and it’s always intense.”
Somonauk started the scoring in the 20th minute when Luke Rader’s corner kick knuckled in the strong south wind and went untouched into the net. The hosts made it 2-0 a minute and a half later when Parker Wasson ran down a lead pass from midfield from Cater Andrews, chipped the ball over sliding Earlville keeper Garett Cook (10 saves) and tapped it into an open net.
The Bobcats made it a three-goal lead 10 minutes into the second half when a throw-in deflected off an Earlville player and into the net for an “own goal”.
Earlville (8-4, 2-3) got back in the match over the next seven minutes. Diego Vazquez scored on a penalty kick at the 27:41 mark, and five minutes later assisted on a tally from Bryar Keller on a short strike from the left wing that got by Somonauk keeper Coleton Eade (six saves). After the tally, a Bobcats player received a red card, leaving the team a man short.
“I thought the tides were going to turn there, but it just didn’t happen. Sometimes red cards can have a galvanizing effect for the team that gets it. Somonauk is a good team to start with, but after the red card, they just really hunkered down.”
— Earlville coach Larry Heiden
“I thought the tides were going to turn there, but it just didn’t happen,” Earlville coach Larry Heiden said. “Sometimes red cards can have a galvanizing effect for the team that gets it. Somonauk is a good team to start with, but after the red card they just really hunkered down.
“I think we thought we were then in a good situation, wind at our backs, they’re down a man and we’re only down a goal, but for whatever reason we started to play soft. I felt we dominated and controlled the first 20 minutes and had a number of good chances, but we just stopped doing what had been working.
Somonauk used a pair of penalty kick goals from Lance Grandgeorge at the 20:49 and 17:38 marks, while Andrews made the final goal on a point-blank strike with just less than 10 minutes remaining.
“I can’t argue with the penalty kicks, but those calls should have never had to be made if we had stopped the ball a number of times we had the chance before it got into the box,” Heiden said. “It was just poor team defense on our part. Part of being a good team is when the other team makes a mistake, you capitalize on it, and when it’s your own team you fix it. We didn’t do that today.”
Next up, Somonauk has another league rivalry game at Hinckley-Big Rock at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, while Earlville hosts Indian Creek at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
I worked for 25 years as a CNC operator and in 2005 answered an ad in The Times for a freelance sports writer position. I became a full-time sports writer/columnist for The Times in February of 2016.
I enjoy researching high school athletics history, and in my spare time like to do the same, but also play video games and watch Twitch.