Leafs have a new goal

Chris Steele
Rachel Daniels leaps over a defender during Geneseo’s win over United Township.

The Geneseo soccer team had a dominant second half against United Township and opened Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference play with a victory.

United Township at Geneseo

Identifying how players fit within a system can strengthen a team.

The Lady Leafs showed a real comfort level during a 4-0 defeat of the Panthers at the Geneseo Soccer Pitch on March 28.

After suffering a 2-0 defeat in the home opener against Dixon, Geneseo Coach Harvey Morton shifted midfielder Rachel Daniels to the forward position.

Daniels scored 20 goals playing primarily forward last season, and she believes just building in more familiar foundation has strengthened the team’s trust in each other.

“It’s kind of like a well-oiled machine at some point,” Daniels said. “We all know what we have to do at certain points. (Morton) has been reminding us that sometimes you don’t have to see the pass, but you have to rely on your teammates. You need to know where they are supposed to be, and know they are going to be there for the ball.”

The Lady Leafs started to see that kind of connection between players pay off in the second half.

Daniels had scored on an assist from Ellie Whiteman in the 34th minute, but Geneseo had only generated two shots on net in the first half.

In the second half, Geneseo controlled possession dominating the ball and generating scoring chances.

“We started executing and hitting feet,” Morton said. “That’s our game a possession one-two touch. We have been working on our execution, where we need to be and who we are. I thought we played well, moved off the ball well and got into space.”

Daniels scored with an assist from Taylor DeSplinter in the 50th minute, and Kristin Polowy found the back of the net in the 61st minute.

Daniels finished off her hat-trick game with a sliding kick to angle the ball away from the Panthers keeper.

Geneseo at LaSalle-Peru

MaKenzie Thompson scored four goals as Geneseo defeated the Lady Cavaliers 8-0 at LaSalle-Peru High School on April 2.

Thompson kicked off the scoring in the sixth minute, and she assisted on DeSplinter goal in the 12th minute.

A senior, Thompson scored two goals in two minutes for a hat trick, and she added another before half to give Geneseo a 7-0 lead.

The Leafs’ DeSplinter scored with just under two minutes to play until halftime.

Daniels scored a pair of goals and added an assist, and Mikala Warner found the back of the net.

Geneseo’s Sydney Anast tallied a pair of assists in the game, and the Lady Leafs’ defense held L-P without a shot on goal in the game.