DIXON – Overtime looked imminent in the Dixon soccer team’s regular-season finale against Rochelle.
Zane Walters, however, decided 80 minutes was enough to settle the score between the Hubs and the Dukes.
A freshman forward, Walters scored with 13.9 seconds remaining to lift Rochelle to a 2-1 win against Dixon on Wednesday night at A.C. Bowers Field. It was the Dukes’ Senior Night.
The second half was scoreless until the game-winner, when Walters found himself in the right spot at the right time. A shot from the right near the end line skittered across the front of the goal, past Dixon keeper Nick Clemens and players from both squads. The ball found its way to Walters near the left side of the goal, and he merely had to poke it in.
“A player was out of position, so I just took his position,” Walters said. “The ball came right to me, and all I had to do was tap it.”
It was the second goal this season for Walters, but not his first game-winner. He noted he scored a deciding goal for his club team last year.
Rochelle (11-6-1) scored first when Brayan Orozco knocked in a rebound with 24:21 remaining in the first half.
Dixon (8-11) tied it up with 2:11 left in the first half when Caleb Carlson scored off a free kick from Adrian Rodriguez. The ball looked destined to be gobbled up by Rochelle keeper Mason DeLille, but Carlson swooped in and headed it into the net.
Carlson has played wherever he’s been needed this season, and spent Wednesday at forward. He had numerous breakaway chances on dump-and-chase balls, but was unable to convert – he noted that was due in part to some unwanted help.
“I moved up there just to make some runs, and they were just playing dirty,” Carlson said. “A lot of those were fouls in the box, and we should have had a lot of PKs, but nothing got called. You get some and you lose some.”
“It’s a wet night, and the ball kind of squirted around a little more than we would have liked it to,” Dixon coach Josh Brigl said. “If we finish one or two of those chances earlier in the second half, it doesn’t end the way that it did. That’s soccer. That’s the way the game is played.”
The Dukes will now have 2 days to prepare for their regional opener, a home game against IMSA on Saturday at 3 p.m. Despite going into that game on a down note, good things are still there to be had, Carlson noted.
“I think this is all just preparation for IMSA,” Carlson said. “We played Rock Island on Saturday, and it was 1-0 until 20 minutes were left. Rock Island is the No. 1 soccer team outside of Chicago. We can play with them – all we need is some goals.”
Rochelle 2, Dixon 1
Star of the game: Zane Walters, Rochelle, game-winning goal
Key performers: Caleb Carlson, Dixon, goal; Brayan Orozco, Rochelle, goal
Up next: IMSA at Dixon, 3 p.m. Saturday; Sterling at Rochelle, 4:30 p.m. today