It’s challenging right now to know what to make of the area boys’ soccer scene.
Consider that all of these outcomes have occurred so far in 2019:
— St. Thomas More tied Champaign Central
— Uni High tied Champaign Central
— Monticello tied Uni High
— Fisher/Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley tied Uni High after losing to Judah Christian
— Blue Ridge tied Uni High
Analysis: Uni High is really into draws.
More seriously, though, this shows the parity that currently exists on local pitches.
That merely means when these clubs face non-area talent, good results are bound to follow.
It played out last weekend in a couple ways.
First, STM traveled to the Herscher Showcase and earned a 1-1 draw with Oak Forest, a Class 2A program out of Chicago.
Closer to town, Central managed to capture its second consecutive Urbana Tournament title via a penalty-kicks win over Geneseo in the final.
Geneseo, according to Maroons coach Nick Clegg, had been “ranked in this sports magazine ... top 10 in the state outside of Chicago.”
At least, that’s what his kids told him before a 1-all tie through regulation led to the aforementioned PKs.
“They were talking about that, so they were pretty excited (to win),” Clegg said. “It’s a really quality opponent.”
Central posted a 3-0 record in the two-day Urbana event to move to 6-1-2 on the year. The Maroons’ lone loss came to Solorio Academy, a Class 2A sectional finalist in 2018 — like Central.
This year’s Urbana Tournament win felt a little different for the Maroons, though. They’re without stars such as Peter Wagner, Pablo Diaz and Reynaldo Zarco.
Led by reigning News-Gazette Player of the Year Santiago Rodriguez, Central is finding its footing once more.
In a semifinal win over Mahomet-Seymour, sophomores Kyle Johnson and Shaffer Bauer found the back of the net.
Meanwhile, senior Nate Allen accounted for two shutouts working as goalkeeper in the showcase.
And the Maroons left room for plenty of dramatics down the stretch. All five of their penalty kickers — Judd Wagner, Rodriguez, Spencer Bauer, Jair Villa and Johnson — converted to overcome Geneseo.
“We’ve had some mixed results this year where guys thought we’d win some games that turned into draws,” Clegg said. “But the second-place finish in the Bradley-Bourbonnais Tournament (last month) was really good (for our confidence).”
Central also is making early memories. Clegg noted that Shaffer Bauer texted him Sunday seeking video of the athlete’s lengthy goal versus M-S.
“We’re figuring some stuff out,” Clegg said, “and it’s given us confidence going into the (Big 12) conference schedule coming up.”