The Collinsville Kahoks and Liberty Wildcats waited an extra two-and-a-half hours for the start of their Class 3A state boys soccer semifinal at Hoffman Estates because three earlier semifinal games went long into overtime.
It might have been a harbinger of the kind of nip-and-tuck night of soccer it would be.
One goal was all it took for Libertyville (22-0) to scratch out a 1-0 win over Collinsville and a trip back to the championship game for a second straight year.
Michigan-bound Evan Rasmussen broke the scoreless tie with his 34th goal of the season with a low rolling kick inside the post in the 43rd minute of play. Jack VanDixhorn set Rasmussen up with the pass.
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“It’s always tough to lose a game, but (Libertyville) was a good team and they will challenge for a state title,” Collinsville coach Rob Lugge said. “We just have to regroup and fight for third place. I don’t think we ever stopped fighting. We had to get out some early game jitters and had to get used to the environment. Once we did it, which took longer than expected, we did get some chances.”
Collinsville (18-6-2) had one last opportunity in the final minute on a free kick just outside the box up top. Luke Liljegren had a head flick to teammate Sam Huster, who had a header going for the goal, but Libertyville keeper El Ghatit (8 saves) went in the air for the stop.
Libertyville came out and applied pressure early in the first half. Rasmussen hit a short-range shot on goal and was denied by Kahoks goalie Tate Wyatt in the fourth minute. The Wildcats kept their pressure intact through the rest of the first half as they were able to get a number of shots on goal. Keeper Tate was ready each time and made 6 stops against the Wildcat attack.
Collinsville did weather the first half storm and had a few limited opportunities on the other side of the field, as it tried to counter attack on a few occasions. But the Kahoks’ best chance came off a corner kick which Ethan Wilhold connected with a header right at Wildcats’ keeper El Ghatit.
The Wildcats will face two-time defending champion Naperville North (25-0) in Saturday’s 7 p.m. title game. The Huskies defeated Lake Park 1-0 in PKs on Friday. Naperville North defeated Libertyville in last year’s title game.
Collinsville will face Roselle Lake Park in the third place game at 5 p.m.