Either Genoa-Kingston coach Randy Tate is a good poker player or the wind chill kept the Cogs from sweating the start of their Class 1A regional match with Mendota.
Wednesday's 4-2 come-from-behind victory advances regional host Genoa-Kingston into Saturday's 3 p.m. final against Indian Creek.
The home-field advantage meant little just 53 seconds into the contest as Mendota's Ally Bromenshenkel parked a 14-yarder from the left side inside the far-right post to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead. Twin sister Abby – the other half of Mendota's one-two scoring punch – put the visitors up 2-0 with 17:39 left before halftime. It was Abby's 17th goal of the year as she continues to trail her sister, who notched her 19th.
“The thought [of losing] entered my mind,” Tate admitted afterward despite remaining outwardly calm throughout the third meeting between the two schools. Genoa-Kingston (14-6-1) won a 2-1 visit to Mendota on April 8 and was a 5-0 victor in the Big Northern West rematch on April 24.
“With one exception we've never been down that much, but I guess having played a lot of close games helped us keep our composure. Not really sure what happened to us at the beginning, but once we settled down, we started making passes and playing fluid soccer. Their [defensive] approach of packing it in kind of helped us control midfield and work it around for better shots.”
Nicole Hebel booted a 19-yard direct free kick into the upper right corner 7:26 before halftime. Hebel then notched her team-high seventh assist of the season 5:05 into the second half by setting up Katie McCluskey for a seven-yard header. Genoa-Kingston then gained the lead off an Ashley Grimm cross tapped home by Maggie Bouque's sixth goal and fourth match-winner.
“In my mind all I could think about was 'I cannot miss.' It was a perfect pass that just needed a simple touch,” Bouque said.
Hebel put the game on ice with a 15-yard strike from the right side with 2:44 remaining. The junior's second score boosted her team-high totals to 35 points and 14 goals.
“The first goal I knew to aim for the upper corner and the last one was important because a 3-2 lead may never be enough,” Hebel added.
Mendota (7-7-3) kept four defenders at or near the top of the Trojan goal box throughout the match.
“The difference was we settled for the 2-0 lead. We worked hard in the first 24 minutes and they had it in their mind that was good enough,” Mendota coach Chawn Huffaker said. “I told them [G-K] would play to the end and we needed to do the same, but we stood too much of the time.”