Geneva falls to Glenbard West on penalty kicks to end its season


Glenbard West had waited a long nine years to raise an IHSA boys soccer regional plaque.

That made battling through 80 minutes of scoreless soccer and a pair of 10-minute overtimes worth it as host Geneva kept the Hilltoppers and everyone else watching at Burgess Field in suspense until Friday’s Class 3A Geneva regional went to a penalty shootout.

Behind a pair of fantastic saves from senior goalkeeper Jack Harrod, the Hilltoppers snuck past the Vikings 4-3 in the shootout to win their first regional since 2014.

“With the past couple of weeks we’ve been working on PKs and a lot of times the kids want to switch it up and I’m like, ‘Practice your spot. If you are good at PKs you can tell the goalie which way you are going and you can still score’. Every single one of them kept their nerves, hit their spot. We had a couple mishits, but that’s alright though. Our goalie picked us up, our other captains picked us up, and that’s what they’re there for.”

Senior Grayson Kalinch converted his try to open the shootout while Geneva senior Carter Konkey answered.

Geneva junior goalkeeper Tommy Rowoldt denied junior Brody Parchem’s shot, but just as the local cheering had subsided, Harrod lunged to deny Geneva senior Liam O’Donogue from giving the Vikings the advantage.

“I was put in that situation in the last shootout (a loss to Hinsdale Central on Oct. 5),” Harrod said. “The other goalie saved it and I came up and made a big save right after it. So I’d been in that spot before so I was ready for it.”



Junior Davis Barta’s attempt just got underneath Rowoldt for the Hilltoppers before Geneva junior Reece Leonard answered to make it 2-2 through each team’s first three shooters.

Glenbard West junior Johan Palacios, Geneva senior Nic Plata and Glenbard West senior Eduardo Vargas followed and were all successful before Harrod came up with another save to send the Hilltoppers to West Chicago next Wednesday for a sectional semifinal against York.

“Once you are here, you’re kind of in the moment and whatever happens, happens,” Harrod said. “You leave everything here because it’s win or go home. That’s it. So we were ready for this. This is what we’ve been working on in every single practice over and over, that repetition and getting mentally prepared for it.”

Geneva (13-6-2) had some scoring chances and Glenbard West (13-8-1) threatened the Vikings at times, but both teams did a good job of limiting opportunities.



“I could not have asked for anything more,” Geneva coach Jason Bhatta said. “I felt we had opportunities. We put sustained pressure on them throughout the overtime, throughout the last 15 to 20 minutes of the second half, but sometimes it doesn’t go your way and it comes down to PKs.”

Bhatta, who won regional titles with the Vikings in 2019 and 2021, lost a shootout to Plainfield Central in 2017.

“Penalties is the worst way to go out,” he said. “It’s tough. But I told them that they played some of the best soccer that I’ve seen coaching, and for me personally I thought the soccer we played throughout the season was so good so I told them ‘Don’t let this one penalty shootout take away everything we did. I thought today we played good soccer, but it came down to this, but the whole year we’ve been fantastic.”



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