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Dixon tops Genoa-Kingston in shootout at A.C. Bowers Field

Persevering in penalty kicks

DIXON – The Dixon soccer team went to a shootout with Genoa-Kingston on Thursday after the teams played 90 minutes to a 2-2 draw at A.C. Bowers Field.

After five penalty kicks from each side, the Dukes and Cogs were still even.

Dixon’s sixth shooter, junior Griffey Rodriguez, fired a ball to the right and got it past Cogs’ keeper Rony Vasquez. Trying to keep things going, Genoa-Kingston sent Ben Younker to the spot, and his shot was stopped by Dukes goalkeeper Skyler Connolly to secure the win.

“Really, I have nothing going through my mind [for penalty kicks], it’s just focused on stopping the ball,” Connolly said.

Dixon’s Noah Grot and the Cogs’ Jorge Leon both scored to open the shootout. Dixon’s Alex Georgiev was stopped while Genoa-Kingston’s Kalvin Zimmerman scored, putting the Cogs in front. Dixon’s third shooter, Bradyn Langloss, beat Vasquez going left, while Connolly stopped Leonardo Rocha. The fourth and fifth shooters – Graesen Blumhoff and Kade Fulton for Dixon, Eagan Reams and Aiden Tomlinson for Genoa-Kingston – all scored.

“I’d say at times during the game we looked drained, but for the penalty kicks they were up, they were ready for them, they were energized,” Dixon coach Josh Brigl said. “We had really good kick-takers. I was super-confident in the second five that stepped up. I honestly thought we’d make all five. Their goalkeeper made a nice save, but Skylar is tremendous at penalty kicks.”

In a game that ended in penalty kicks, the scoring began with a pair of them as well. After a scoreless first 30 minutes, Leon collided with Dixon goalkeeper Ryan Pitzer in the penalty area, drawing a spot kick which Reams buried to put the Cogs up 1-0.

In the 33rd minute, Dixon’s Luis Xique was shoved to the ground at the edge of the area, and Grot converted on the ensuing penalty kick.

Genoa-Kingston (7-5, 2-3 Big Northern) pulled ahead in the 46th minute as Leon tackled the ball away from Ethan Fox to Pitzer’s left, and dribbled in before slotting home a shot.

“He’s usually our go-to player, him and Eagan both,” Genoa-Kingston coach Randy Tate said. “They work together well. If they double-team one of them, they play it back to the other and he’s wide open. Together, they’ve worked pretty well as a duo.”

Dixon (9-2-1, 6-1) eventually equalized in the 70th minute on a corner kick, as Fulton headed in a corner from Boston Glessner.

“I was just watching Boston, making sure I knew where the guy who was marking me was,” Fulton said. “I like to stay off him, so I backpedaled, and once I saw the ball in the air, I knew it was going straight for me and I just had to fight for it and flick it in.”

Both teams had quality chances in the overtime. For Dixon, Fulton made a nice spin move to make a run up the left side in the 82nd minute, but his shot was wide. Blumhoff also found the side netting with a shot in the 83rd minute. In the closing seconds of overtime, Fulton crossed a pass that Xique tried to redirect into the net, but that shot went wide.

The Cogs’ best chance in overtime came in the 87th minute when Leon clanged a shot off the inside of the left post that somehow stayed out of the net. That came moments after Grot tackled a ball away from Reams. The Cogs also had a shot off a free kick go over the cross bar.

Dixon had the ball down in the Genoa-Kingston end of the field for much of the second half, but could not break through until the end. Langloss stole a goal kick in the 50th minute, but his shot went wide. He also put a shot off the crossbar in the 65th minute.

Blumhoff had a shot deflected in front of the net in the 51st minute, and moments after that, Tristen Smith’s header off a corner went wide of the net. Dixon free kicks in the 56th and 57th minutes amounted to nothing, and Vasquez was able to deny Connolly and Fulton in the 58th minute.

“We had to stay out of our own heads,” Fulton said. “We knew we were better than them the whole time. I know personally I was getting frustrated, and I could see other players getting frustrated with our play as a team. We had to keep grinding because we didn’t want it to end like it did on Tuesday.”

Dixon lost 3-1 in overtime at Mendota Tuesday, a game which, barring Trojans losses to Winnebago and Stillman Valley, decided the conference chase.

Vasquez made 16 saves in the game, and the Genoa-Kingston backline of Younker, Lorenzo Diaz and Alan Rangel was able to stand up to the sustained pressure up until the final 10 minutes.

“Defense has really been picking it up,” Tate said. “They’ve been playing much better than they were in the beginning of this year. They’ve come a long way in 2 or 3 weeks.”

Boys soccer

Dixon 2, Genoa-Kingston 2 (Dixon 5-4 PKs)

Star of the game: Skylar Connolly, Dixon, made two saves in penalty shootout

Key performers: Noah Grot, Dixon, 1 goal; Kade Fulton, Dixon, 1 goal; Jorge Leon, Genoa-Kingston, 1 goal, drew a penalty; Rony Vasquez, Genoa-Kingston, 16 saves.

Up next: Byron at Dixon, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday

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