WHEATFIELD — Kankakee Valley won its third straight game on Monday, Sept. 20, blanking rival Covenant Christian, 2-0, at Fred Jones Field.
The Kougars (6-4-1) got single goals in the first and second halves, with Ben Herz and Joel Gomez providing the scoring. Nathan Duttlinger had an assist and winning goalkeeper Luke Andree made six saves.
KV had more offensive opportunities in the first half, possessing the ball at midfield and taking advantage of the wind. The Knights, however, didn’t make it easy for KV, placing eight and nine players behind the ball in KV’s attacking third.
Finally, defender Duttlinger would maneuver his way into the Knights’ back line where he drew multiple defenders before finding Herz. The senior midfielder’s shot found the back of the net to break a scoreless tie.
In the second half, KV found itself playing against the wind, which limited its ability to possess and attack with the same style as in the first half. The Knights were able to play many long balls over the top to give them corner kicks, but the Kougars’ defense held strong. Andree also made a number of timely saves to keep the Knights off the board.
After a few failed scoring opportunities by Herz and Sebastian Zavala midway through the second half, KV finally got its second goal with around 10 minutes remaining. Gomez was taken down in the penalty box and lined up for a penalty kick. His shot beat the keeper, giving his team a 2-0 advantage.
KV coach Jovan Jeftich credited his back line of Chris Varela Carrera, Brandon Ruvalcaba, John Santamaria and Duttlinger with solid defensive work to keep Covenant from finding a clean shot. This also included center-mid Cole Watson and keeper Andree.
“I’m proud of my team tonight,” Jeftich said after the game. “Covenant Christian definitely made it hard on us offensively and took us out of our rhythm at times. However, it was good to see our team step up in key moments in the attack and in the back. We did enough to grind out this win, and I’m very pleased with the outcome.”
The Knights fall to 5-6-1 on the season.
Hobart tosses 4-0 shutout vs. RCHS
HOBART — Host Hobart scored twice in the first half and twice more in the second to cruise to a 4-0 final over Rensselaer Central in boys’ soccer action Saturday, Sept. 18.
The Bombers welcomed a couple of starters back to the lineup, but couldn’t defend a Brickie cross for a goal and a corner kick from the right side that was nudged past goalkeeper Jared Williamson.
Rensselaer improved its scoring opportunities in the second half, but failed to get a shot past Hobart’s goalie. The Bombers had three shots on goal to eight for unbeaten Hobart (8-0-3).
Williamson had four saves.
RCHS (8-4) returns to action Thursday, Sept. 23 when it hosts Hebron with a 5 p.m. start.
Easy goals for Bombers vs. Bison
RENSSELAER — Junior Dalton Henry had three goals and four other players had one each as a short-handed Rensselaer Central squad made quick work of Benton Central Thursday, Sept. 16 in a Hoosier Conference contest.
The Bombers (8-3) had just 14 eligible players, but had several step up to make up for any losses. Oscar Murrillo Cabrera], Chris Hendrix and Sam Harris had fine games in place of the team’s regular starters.
RCHS dominated possession, scoring three goals in the first half and four more in the second. The Bison, meanwhile, had just one shot on goal in the entire game.
Scoring single goals for RCHS were DJ Hanford, who also had two assists; Cohen Craig (with one assist); Adam Martinez; and Hendrix.
Murrillo-Cabrera added an assist.
Kougars improve to 2-1 in NCC
WHEATFIELD — Kankakee Valley went over the .500 mark overall and in the Northwest Crossroads Conference with a 3-2 victory over visiting Andrean on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
The Kougars (5-4-1, 2-1 in the NCC) took control in the first half, scoring twice for a 2-0 lead by halftime. They came out strong, controlling play and limiting the 59ers to very few scoring chances.
Senior Joel Gomez broke a scoreless tie with under 20 minutes remaining. After receiving a pass from a restart at midfield, Gomez would dribble 50 yards, outrunning Andrean’s entire midfield and backline and finished his shot calmly for a 1-0 lead.
With six minutes remaining in the half, senior Ben Herz took a throw-in from teammate Zack Curtis, beating multiple defenders inside the goal box and placed his shot to the far left corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
The second half was more of the same for the Kougars, who limited Andrean’s offense to very few chances while controlling play and possession. Gomez would score his team’s final goal when he took Herz’s long over-the-top pass to beat the Andrean offside trap for a 3-0 lead.
The 59ers scored twice in the game’s final five minutes, including a penalty kick and a shot inside the penalty box that sailed over KV goalkeeper Luke Andree’s head to tighten the score at 3-2.
However, time would run out for the Niners to give KV its fourth win in five games.
Gomez had a team-high 16 goals on the season and Herz currently has seven. Andree had five saves for the win.
“I thought we played really well for 76 minutes tonight,” said KV coach Jovan Jeftich. “We outplayed them for much of the match and I was hoping we could have extended our lead more in the second half. Credit Andrean for not giving up, but I thought we should have done better to close out the game and preserved a potential shutout. Another lesson to learn from tonight as we move forward.”
I’m still proud of our overall effort and glad we were able to win another conference game.”
RCHS caps regular season
MONTICELLO — Rensselaer Central’s girls’ golf team capped the regular season by finishing in a tie for second during a quadrangular meet in Monticello on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The Lady Bombers shot a 214 over nine holes at the Tippecanoe Country Club, which hosted the sectional meet on Monday, Sept. 20.
RCHS tied with Carroll for second, with Tri-County third with a 214. Twin Lakes won the meet.
Scoring for the Bombers were Carly Drone with a 52 and Jenna Minter with a 53. Haley Graf shot a 54 and Addison Hesson fired a 55. The kick-out score came from Maggie Maienbrook, who finished with a 58.
In the junior varsity contest, Elise Donnelly shot a 55, with Maggie Hooker (57), Josie Zacher (59) and Mallory Klingler (62) also scoring. The Bombers had a team score of 233.
• On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the Bombers finished behind Lowell but beat South Newton in their final meet at home this summer.
Rensselaer had a score fo 200, with Lowell winning the match with a 198. Drone led the Bombers with a 46 and Minter shot a 47. Hesson (51) and Maienbrook (56) also scored for the Bombers.
Graf had a kick-out score of 62.
Prep Girls Soccer
Bombers blanked by Benton Central
OXFORD — Rensselaer Central was held scoreless for 80 minutes in falling 3-0 to Hoosier Conference foe Benton Central Thursday night, Sept. 16.
The Bison (7-0, 2-0 in the HC) took a 2-0 lead in the first half and added an insurance goal midway through the second half to complete the shutout. Senior Tressa Senesac had two of BC’s three goals.
The Bison had eight shots on goal.
KVHS can’t keep pace with Munster
MUNSTER — Munster remained unbeaten in the Northwest Crossroads Conference standings with a 3-0 win over visiting Kankakee Valley Thursday, Sept. 16.
The Mustangs (19-3, 5-0 in the NCC) won by 25-15, 25-9 and 25-16 scores. KVHS (10-7, 0-4 in the NCC) got 11 kills and a service ace from senior Alexis Broyles and Lilly Toppen added six assists and six digs.
Ava Dase also had six digs.
Haley Melby had 16 kills and Lauren Wallace added 10 for the Mustangs. Munster had 28 service aces as a team, with Marina Gronkiewicz and Melby collecting five each.
Gronkiewicz also had 19 assists.