ELDRIDGE – A lightning strike ended a hard-fought soccer game.
The strike came with 8 minutes and 34 seconds remaining in second overtime between Geneseo and North Scott and saw both teams walk away in a 1-1 draw after both coaches agreed to end the game.
“A couple of good teams going to work,” said Geneseo head coach Harvey Morton. “Obviously a draw isn’t what you want, you want to win if you can, but this is a good team and we didn’t lose, so I think it’s a positive step.”
It was an emotional night at The Pitch, especially when the Lancers lost senior midfielder Adeline Finnicum to a knee injury in the 58th minute. Head coach Dion Ayers said he feared it was an ACL injury.
“This was the healthiest thing since she joined the community school district out here,” Ayers said. “To see her go down again it’s now a third ACL on the right knee which is the only one that’s been healthy all along. … If it happens on seniors night, I just feel awful. We walk over there and all she says is ‘Why me? I’ve had the worst luck of my life.'”
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After injury, North Scott (6-4-1) controlled the game but couldn’t find a goal to win it, his best chance being a Reese Hilsenbeck shot in the 87th minute that ricocheted off the right post.
North Scott had two great looks in the first 10 minutes, but Geneseo (8-4-2) keeper Addison Smith made two big saves to keep the Lancers off the board.
Geneseo struck quickly afterwards. Danielle Beach sent a ball into the box and, although Kaitlyn Seamen missed a touch, the ball leaked through to Mia Kelly, who capitalized in the 16th minute to make it 1-0 for the Maple Leafs.
“It’s always scary getting into a big game and I’ve got some health issues with my knee so I didn’t know how it was going to go but I got out there and I think we settled in,” Smith said , who made six saves for Geneseo. “I feel like in those first few minutes…I just settled into the game.”
After the goal, Geneseo controlled the game for the rest of the half but couldn’t get past Natalie Knepper, who made nine saves for the Lancers.
“We came out of the penalty area a little late, but in those 20, 25 minutes we solved that and I thought we played really well,” said Morton. “We had chances but didn’t finish.”
North Scott looked very different in the second half and quickly leveled the game when Kendall Knisley buried a Hilsenbeck cross in the 43rd minute.
“We saw that they were getting tired and we just had to push and that’s what we did,” said Knisley. “We kept playing long balls, kept hitting the ball because we knew they were tired.”
Geneseo defeated North Scott 2-0 on March 31 in the Lancers’ first game of the year. The Lancers like how they’ve grown as a team since then.
“We’ve improved a lot,” said Knisley. “In our first game we didn’t really bond, but in this game we bonded, we have faith in each other and we were ready to make it happen.”
And for the Maple Leafs, it’s another good test as they begin preparing for the postseason.
“I told the girls,” Morton said, “even when we went into overtime, this is a post-season opportunity, you get into that high-pressure game.”
Photos: North Scott draws against Geneseo