Geneseo fought through rough conditions for their ninth regional title in 10 years, and the Lady Leafs knocked off Peoria Notre Dame for the first time in school history.

Geneseo fought through rough conditions for their ninth regional title in 10 years, and the Lady Leafs knocked off Peoria Notre Dame for the first time in school history.

Geneseo vs. Yorkville

Geneseo battled the conditions and a physical Yorkville team to bring home a 2-0 victory in the Class 2A LaSalle-Peru Regional on May 20.

Having played Yorkville to a 3-all tie during the regular season, the Lady Leafs knew the Foxes were going to be physically imposing.

Geneseo was able to use that aggressiveness against them leading to a Lauren Coulter goal on a penalty kick in the 18th minute.

“It definitely gave us momentum,” said Lauren Coulter, a senior. “It gave us confidence, and really showed us we could put more in the net.”

Playing on a LaSalle-Peru field with more undulation than the surface of the moon, it was hard for Geneseo to play their regular possession style of offense.

Yorkville’s back line played great taking full advantage of the conditions.

The Foxes used their physicality to knock players off the ball, and Yorkville’s midfielders clogged up passing lanes before Geneseo could settle the ball.

While there were two yellow cards in the first half, contact between players drew few whistles.

The Leafs rode a 1-0 lead into halftime and adjusted their game plan.

Geneseo’s Paige Gramling fired a powerful one timer falling away on a loose ball which found the back of the net in the 44th minute.

“During halftime, coach (Ian) Kline was telling the forwards to take every opportunity we had,” Gramling said. “I had the opportunity, and I took it. It kind of was a surprise.”

Without being able to settle the ball, Geneseo began attacking from the wings to create chances.

“Paige strikes very well on both sides of her body,” Kline said. “She’s not naturally left footed, but one of the benefits of having Paige as a forward is she can finish with both feet. She put a really nice ball inside of the back post and that’s where the left foot needs to be used, and she used it beautifully.”

Yorkville made a push with time running out, but Geneseo’s back line ended some nice runs late to earn the shutout.

Geneseo midfielder Caitlin Akers was cut on her face during a collision, but she wouldn’t miss celebrating with her teammates as the Leafs claimed their third-consecutive regional title.

Geneseo vs. Peoria Notre Dame

The past two years, Geneseo’s post season story ended with a 2-1 loss to Peoria Notre Dame in the sectional semifinals.

Geneseo’s Shelby Clary wasn’t satisfied with the same old story.

The Lady Leafs flipped the script upsetting host Peoria Notre Dame 2-1 in the Class 2A sectional semifinals on May 24.

Clary scored with 24 seconds remaining to defeat the Irish in the postseason for the first time in Geneseo soccer history.

The game had all the makings of a Hollywood movie.

On the field of their top-seeded nemesis team, with time winding down, the Leafs comeback checked all the boxes.

“We’ve struggled beating them for as long as I’ve played and as long as I remember,” Clary said. “It was just an awesome feeling.”

Geneseo’s McKenzie Davison hit a high arcing center pass that slipped through the waiting hands of the Irish keeper and landed directly in front of Clary.

“I knew I had to do it for my team” Clary said. “I had to compose myself and just tap it in.”

After trailing 1-0 at halftime, Geneseo’s Lauren Coulter sparked a comeback, scoring with an assist from Akers in the 52nd minute.

All season long Lauren Coulter kept saying the Lady Leafs were ready for Peoria Notre Dame.

Turns out she was right.

“We couldn’t give up,” Lauren Coulter said. “Most goals are scored in the second half in a game like this. We had to come out strong and take over.”

Geneseo advances to the 2A sectional championship to take on Alleman at Peoria Notre Dame on Friday, May 27.