EAST PEORIA, Ill. – It was an instant classic.
Playing Tuesday night in the second semifinal at the EastSide Centre in the Peoria Christian Regional, the Monmouth-Roseville Titans and Kewanee Boilermakers staged a thriller. Each team had a decided upper hand at one point, but it was the Titans who survived and advanced to meet the host school in Friday night’s championship game.
During the regular season, Kewanee upset M-R by a 2-1 score, and the Titans were determined early on to avenge that defeat. Bruntsh Bolese whipped in an impressive free kick to open the scoring in the game’s 24th minute, and the Titans doubled their lead going into halftime on a goal by Ozzie Carmona, assisted by Fracas Kapesa.
Six minutes into the second half, the Titans struck again, with Biak Ceu taking the ball off of Carmona’s foot and putting it past Kewanee goalie Dillon Price for a 3-0 lead.
And then things got a little crazy.
The Boilers got on the scoreboard on a header at the far post by Julian Quintero, assisted by Kewanee star Cristian Cazares. With 5:27 to play, Quintero was free again at the back post. M-R goalie Isaac Garcia saved Quintero’s initial header, but after a brief scrum, the rebound found its way back to Quintero, who scored to make it 3-2. Two minutes later, Cazares fired a dangerous shot that Garcia saved, but the rebound deflected straight onto the hand of an M-R player in the box, and the Boilers were awarded a penalty kick. James Roginski cashed it in to knot the score at 3-3.
The rule for state tournament play is no sudden death, so the teams entered a pair of 10-minute overtime periods. A great pass to Cazares led to his left-footed strike past Garcia, and Kewanee had come all the way back to take a 4-3 lead, which it held at the end of the first OT period.
In the second OT, Carmona crossed a ball to the far post and found an open Bawi Thang, who hit a half-volley past Price to once again tie the score. With five minutes to play, Thang passed to Carmona at the top of the penalty box. He spun with the ball to his right and fired a left-footed into the back of the net for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
M-R improved to 12-5-4 on the year. In a previous meeting with Peoria Christian, the Titans fell 1-0 on a goal with 20 minutes left in the game.
***Story courtesy of Barry McNamara***