Geneseo Boys Soccer remains undefeated

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Geneseo soccer players from left, co-captain Ethan Holke (8); co-captain Nate Holke (9), and forward Hunter Holke (7) on the field in the game against Moline when the Leafs won 1-0.
Geneseo’s Connor Nelson and Matt Daily in the Leafs victory over Moline on Saturday, March 27.

The Geneseo Boys Soccer team opened their season on March 15, and with five games behind them, their overall record is 5-0 and 3-0 in the Western Big 6 conference, the result of a match with Moline on March 27 when the Leafs added their 3rd conference victory.

Geneseo has shutouts in three of their five contests, only allowing 3 goals against them this season.

On March 22, the Leafs faced Sterling at Geneseo and added a 3-0 win to their scorebook.

Goals were made by Connor Nelson, assisted by Hunter Holke; Hunter Holke assisted by Ethan Holke; and by Hunter Holke assisted by Hayden Cucuru.

On Saturday, March 27, the Leafs won 1-0 at home in WB6 Conference play against the Moline Maroons.

Geneseo entered the game 4-0, 2-0 in WB6 conference play and Moline entered with a record of 4-0-1, 2-0-1 in conference.

The two teams, known for their offensive power, quickly realized the game was about to become a defensive battle. Neither defense gave much ground to each other. They traded chances throughout the first half of the match.

In the 16th minute, Hunter Holke was fouled on a drive to the goal, resulting in a free kick for Geneseo. Charlie Rice sent the ball into the box where it bounded off of several players before landing at the feet of GHS sophomore forward Connor Nelson, who put the ball into the back of the net.

Of his goal, Nelson said, “Saturday’s goal was just a matter of being in the right place to pick up a rebound after it bounded from player to player. There were a bunch of us in front of the net trying to make the play when the ball finally popped loose. I was able to get my foot on it and knock it in, but it was really a team goal.”

“We knew going into Saturday’s game that it would be a battle,” Nelson said. “Moline is a tough team, and we practiced hard to be ready for them. Our defense deserves a lot of credit. They’ve been really solid this season and did an amazing job limiting scoring opportunities on Saturday. Zach (Nelson) also did really well keeping shots out of goal.”

Nelson went on to credit the midfield and said, “Our midfield has been working really hard and distributing the ball well. They do a good job pushing it forward, which has given Hunter (Holke) and me some great scoring opportunities. It’s been a lot of fun playing forward with Hunter this year. I think we work well together. He’s quick and a great playmaker with a strong leg, and we are getting comfortable about trusting each other and knowing where each other will be.”

The goal was enough to give Geneseo the conference win in a game full of penalties. Moline received 6 yellow cards, two players collecting 2 each, and two coaches re3ceiving 1 each. The Moline players 2 yellow cards resulted in the players being disqualified for the remainder of the game in the second half.

Geneseo went into a defensive mode and held on to the 1-0 victory.

When asked about the yellow cards given, Co-Captain Nate Holke said, “There was frustration on both sides with the way the game was being called. It’s hard to get anything going offensively in that type of game.

His brother, Hunter Holke, said, “There were a lot of cards given out. I know a lot of those Moline guys. They are really good guys and good players. I have a lot of respect for them and their game. Sometimes playing in a tough frustrating game like this gets the best of us.”

Hunter Holke was issued a yellow card in the 67th minute.

He cited the strength of the team and said, “When the offensive is struggling, we are so lucky to have a strong midfield and back line. Those guys, Charlie (Rice), Mason (Smith) and Carson (Rice) have done an amazing job keeping our opponents out of our defensive third.”

Captain Ethan Holke, cousin to Hunter and Nate, said,

There also was additional commotion at the game when Saturday’s head referee asked GHS Athletic Director Joe Nichols to tell the visiting fans, which were located outside the fence surrounding the soccer field, they had to leave. The visiting fans did return to their cars Due to the current pandemic, visiting fans are not allowed inside the play area.

Senior player Mason Smith commented about the “commotion,” and said, “Our team stayed focused even with all the chaos happening on and off the field. The defense stayed strong through constant pressure form a physical Moline team.”

Team captain, Ethan Holke, a senior at GHS, said he is pleased with the team’s effort against Moline, and its overall standing with 5-0 on season and 3-0 in WB6 conference, and added, “Today’s game was a hard-fought game. Our defense played outstanding and the midfielders controlled the midfield when it got tough. We kept our composure and came out with a win.”