KANKAKEE – In the first 10 minutes of Tuesday’s 2A Kankakee Regional semifinal, top-seeded Dixon dominated ball possession, field position and shots against the seventh-seeded hosts, but the game remained scoreless.
However, the feeling of not if, but when the Duchesses would finally score was without doubt, and when Dixon finally opened the scoring on the first of two goals by senior Kylee Hermeyer in the 11th minute, it was like opening the floodgates.
Dixon went on to tally seven more times in the opening half on the way to an 8-0 win. The Lady Kays finish the season 6-9.
The Duchesses (18-1) will now play No. 4 seed Morris, a 2-0 winner over No. 6 Ottawa in the second match, for the regional championship at a time and date to be determined. The originally scheduled day of Friday is the same as Morris’
“It was frustrating, but we were doing everything right,” said Hermeyer, who made it 2-0 on a 27-yard direct kick in the 21st minute. “The shots just weren’t making it through, and [Kankakee’s] defense was really packed in. We just needed to stay focused, and I thought we did that. Once we were able to get that first one, our confidence really took off.”
Defender Britney Pitzer made it 3-0 in favor of the Duchesses just 44 seconds after Hermeyer’s second tally when her 45-yard shot skipped past the Kankakee keeper on a shorthop. Olivia Dennison found the back of the net 2 minutes later after picking up a rebound off a shot from Lauren Pollom, then Pollom made good on a penalty kick in the 30th minute to make it 5-0.
“We were doing the right things, but give credit to Kankakee because they were defending very well those first 10 minutes,” said Dixon coach Mahmoud Etemadi, whose club held a 24-0 shot advantage, including 12-0 in shots on goal for the contest. “I subbed a few girls out and told them that we needed to get wider and open the defense up. Once we did that, we found more openings on our shots.”
Freshman Taylor Harrison made it 6-0 in the 32nd minute as she controlled a 50/50 ball near midfield, dribbled straight up the center of the pitch and ripped a 20-yard shot that deflected off the keeper’s hands and in. Harrison then assisted on the Duchesses’ seventh goal 2 minutes later, finding Lexy Langloss in the middle of the box with a cross which Langloss was able to head by the keeper. Harrison ended the match’s scoring with 6 minutes to play in the opening half on a 15-yard strike from the right wing.
Dixon played for ball possession in the 20-minute second half, and neither team recorded a shot. Starting keeper Madison Stegbauer, and backups Madalin Blumhoff and Abbie Provo combined for the shutout in net for the Duchesses.
2A Kankakee Regional semifinal
Dixon 8, Kankakee 0
Star of the match: Taylor Harrison, Dixon, 2 goals, 1 assist
Key performers: Kylee Hermeyer, Dixon, 2 goals; Britney Pitzer, Dixon, 1 goal; Olivia Dennison, Dixon, 1 goal; Lauren Pollom, Dixon, 1 goal
Up next: 2A Kankakee Regional final, Dixon vs. Morris, time & date TBA