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Rocky soccer beats Geneseo for fifth straight win entering postseason
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PREP BOYS SOCCER | ROCK ISLAND 2, GENESEO 1

Rocky soccer beats Geneseo for fifth straight win entering postseason

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The Rock Island High School boys soccer team finished the regular season on a hot streak, beating Geneseo 2-1 on the road Tuesday in Western Big 6 Conference play to tie for second place in the league.

The Rocks (9-6-1, 5-2 Big 6) came back from a 1-0 deficit to win their fourth straight game in WB6 play.

Coach Rudy Almanza's Rocks have won five straight overall ahead of opening Class 2A postseason soccer at home next Wednesday against Orion-Sherrard.

"We wanted this win," Almanza said. "It was talked about a little bit throughout the week if we are going to let up a little bit and keep everybody healthy for the postseason. But it was more important to get this win."

The victory helped the Rocks tie for second place in the Big 6 with Moline, a 2-0 winner at Sterling.

The Rocks, who are seeded fourth at the regional, stepped up to top the regional's No. 1 seed. Rocky and Geneseo could meet again in the regional final if both win next week. Geneseo (9-8, 4-3 Big 6) faces Dixon to open the postseason on the turf at Rock Island's Almquist Field.

Tuesday was Geneseo's first loss on grass all season.

Conner Nelson gave the hosting Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute to open the scoring.

The Rocks got on the board just 20 seconds before halftime as Htee Soe converted a header off an Aidan Ntinyegezwa corner.

Alejandro Torres had the winning score in the 65th minute.

Torres said the team has slowly turned a corner after starting the year a bit off.

"We've been able to connect passes and just get the ball going," Torres said.

He said his defender had been off his line at times in the game, and he took advantage of Edwin Beltran's pass before scoring the long goal.

Geneseo coach Harvey Morton didn't think his team played bad, it just started slow and got out of what it wanted to do. He added the team has been dealing with injuries and has not had its full varsity lineup for nearly a month.

"We didn't really play up to the level that we needed to tonight. It's a little disappointing," Morton said. "We didn't play well in the midfield. Defensively, we started slow and gave up a goal with under a minute until half that put them back in the game. They are a good team."

Rocky came out aggressively, but its shots came up empty until the closing seconds of the opening half. Rocky out-shot Geneseo 6-5 on goal as Rocky keeper Cohen Crawford helped preserve the win with four saves.

Almanza thought his team controlled things after the break. To see Torres finish a goal was also exciting for a team that typically missed its chances earlier in the season.

"In the role that he plays, it's really important he gets something in the back of the net for himself to keep that confidence high," Almanza said. "Hats off to him for putting that ball in the back of the net."

Almanza said his senior midfielder has been a leader on a team that has been quieter at times.

"The team looks up to him a whole bunch," Almanza said of Torres. "When we get the ball to his foot we know good things can happen."

With the second season a week away and still some things to work on, the Rocks seem to finally be finishing.

"Postseason, it doesn't really matter what your record is," Torres said. "One loss and your out."

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