by Mike Slodki
AURORAâ€”Better the second half than not at all.
A scoreless first half for Kaneland soccer in the semifinal of the Class 2A Rosary Regional had the 15-2-5 Lady Knights flummoxed against the fourth-seeded Aurora Central Catholic Lady Chargers.
But a Sophie Blank goal just 13 seconds into the second half gave Kaneland a lead, and an Emily Heimerdinger goal with 32:19 left provided the final 2-0 margin.
Kaneland now increases its season record for wins and also a team goal with 15 wins.
The Lady Knights will now await the winner of (2) Rosary and (3) IMSA, which were set to battle on Wednesday, in the regional title game on Saturday, May 22, at noon.
This now marks the second consecutive season that Kaneland finds itself in the regional championship.
Coach Scott Parillo feels that Kaneland will need to pick up the performance.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t a good display at times. We didnâ€™t pass well and we didnâ€™t shoot well. The good thing is we won and weâ€™re in the regional championship,â€ he said.
Blankâ€™s goal got the team off to as good a start as possible for the final 40 minutes of action.
â€œWe just needed to be aggressive, and Andie (Bruce) had a good pass,â€ Blank said.
Heimerdingerâ€™s goal occurred after weaving through waves of ACC defenders and hitting the left corner.
With the Lady Knights surrendering just 15 goals thus far, and goalkeeper Jordan Ginther pitching another shutout, captain and defender Megan Gil knows the defenseâ€™s task is magnified in this â€œsecond season.”
â€œYou just have to keep your head in the game,â€ Gil said. â€œThe defense has to be strong and help the offense. We work together as a team. Weâ€™ve played a long time and weâ€™ve come from winning only three games our freshman year. We like playing with each other.â€
Photo: Kaneland goalkeeper Jordan Ginther makes a stop against Aurora Central Catholic during Tuesdayâ€™s 2-0 regional-opening shutout. Photo by Mike Slodki