By Anthony Jones
Playing over an hour away from home, against an undefeated opponent, and in a rare game on a grass field make for tough conditions for any soccer team. But the Triad Knights made it work on November second as they took down the Urbana Tigers 3-1 in penalty kicks on November 2.
A physical and contact filled match all night, neither team found much room on offense as the game sat scoreless with only a few minutes left in regulation. Then with less than three minutes to go, Urbana found itself in possession of the ball with only David DuPont in net left to make a stop.
Then from out of nowhere, Triad defender Sam Beeman raced down the ball to kill the threat. This was the most promising threat of regulation, as the teams were knotted up at 0-0.
In the opening ten minute overtime period, it was the Knights who earned a great scoring chance. With the final seconds ticking off the clock, senior team captain Jake Ellis laid out a beautiful cross that was struck into the net by Porter Reynolds. However, the officials ruled time had just run out before the score was converted.
Overtime period number, also ten minutes, saw both teams build promising threats. This time around, it was Triad’s other captain Roger Weber who blasted a shot in the final seconds. The seniors shot from out deep missed an empty section of the net by mere feet.
With only penalty kicks to go, Triad was in unfamiliar territory, while Urbana was coming fresh off of a penalty kick win. But that lack of in game experience certainly didn’t show.
Taking the first shot was Urbana, but DuPont made a nice save to start things off on the right foot. The Tigers followed up with a save of their own.
Urbana found their way into the net with their second shot, but Jake Stewart responded for the Knights to keep things knotted up. Another Dupont save and a Cameron Ramirez goal sent the Knights into the fourth round with a shot to win.
Although the shot was out of reach for Triad’s goaltender, the crossbar deflected the next shot to present Gibson Hunt with an opportunity to seal the game and deliver the Knights an IHSA Super-Sectional title.
The sophomore standout rose to the occasion and delivered a strike to the bottom left corner for a walkoff goal.
“I knew where I was going before PKs even started,” said Hunt of his shot that sealed the deal.
With the win, the Knights clinched at least a top four finish in the IHSA State Finals. Their semifinals match will be held at 1:00 p.m. at Hoffman Estates high school against Grayslake Central. They will then play at the same venue on the following day, either in the 1:00 p.m.time slot for the state championship or at 11:00 a.m. for the third place game. Their opponent in the second game will be either Chicago(Washington) or Rockford(Boylan Catholic).