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Sports

Huge second half lifts Rochelle past Somonauk

SOMONAUK — While every team and their coach wants to win every contest, sometimes a loss can be beneficial.

Somonauk coach Jonathan Liechty felt Thursday's match against visiting Rochelle may have been that kind of day for his Bobcats. The hosts, with the wind at their backs, held a 1-0 lead at halftime, but the Hubs tallied twice early in the second half and continued to roll in a 7-1 win.

Rochelle (5-1) finished the match with a 36-4 advantage in overall shots, including 21-2 on frame, and dominated field position and ball possession for a majority of the afternoon.

"Rochelle was clearly the best team we've played this season," said Liechty. "We never want to lose games, but sometimes it is good to have some of your weaknesses and some of your holes exposed so you can fix them.
 
"If you're playing teams that don't give you the good competition, you don't always get to see the things that you really need to work on. It is tough to lose and to lose like that, but the reality is you learn from it and move on."

Somonauk (5-1-1) grabbed the lead with 24 minutes, 8 seconds left in the first half. Chris Franzone started the play with a steal near midfield and hit a streaking Drew Westbrook in stride down the middle of the pitch. Westbrook made a slick move around the rushing Rochelle keeper near the top of the box and put a shot into the lower right corner of the cage.
 
Rochelle had a handful of quality chances in the opening 40 minutes, but shots were either wide or stopped by Bobcat keeper Nolan Wegener.

"The first half (Somonauk) really came out tough, we didn't execute on the chances we had and just couldn't find the back of the net," said Rochelle coach Brad Male. "(Wegener) was able to stop everything we put at him the first half."

"He is still learning on the fly, but he is so athletic," Liechty said of Wegener, who finished with 14 saves and is in his first year at keeper. "(Assistant coach) Ken (Ledford) and I talk all the time about how he has taken huge steps in improvement already since the beginning of the season. It is hard to say a goalkeeper stood on his head in a game like this, but he really did. He made some really great saves today for us."

The Hubs began the second half with a pair of goals from Brayan Orozco at the 34:57 and 32:30 marks to grab the lead for good. Rochelle then received back-to-back tallies from Jessee Infante to make it 4-1 before Orozco completed his hat trick with a short strike on the left wing with 9:39 on the clock.
 
The visitors tacked on two more scores, one each by Max Torres and Josue Almaraz, to complete the day's scoring.

"One of the strengths of this team is the ability to possess the ball and make quick, sharp passes, and I thought we did a really good job of that today, especially in the second half," Male said. "We were finally able to put in a couple goals, and we went from there."

On Wednesday afternoon, the Bobcats opened the Little Ten Conference slate with a 6-1 road victory over Indian Creek. Westbrook and Ethan Enders each scored a pair of goals, while Brady Kreiter and Jacob DuBois added one apiece. Steven Kenyon had two assists, with Westbrook and Enders chipping in one each.

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