Redemption is a beautiful thing, especially when it gets you into the NJCAA Region IV finals. After suffering their first region loss in five years to Bryant & Stratton College at the start of this season, the Cyclones found true redemption by defeating the Bobcats 4-1 in the semifinals.
The first time these two teams met Sept. 1, the Cyclones endured a rare 2-1 loss. This time around, Moraine Valley showed their dominance. Right from the start, the Cyclones put on the pressure. They had a few chances to score early, but it didn't happen until 20 minutes in when Anna Kois scored first. Five minutes later, Allison Schaar put another one past the keeper. The Bobcats scored to cut the lead heading into the half.
Knowing the Bobcats would come out strong in the first five to 10 minutes of the second half, Head Coach Al Palar told his players that if they could hang tight at the start, they would persevere. And they did. Keeper Jocelyn Estrada made a few saves in the Bobcats' attack, and the Cyclones found their rhythm and outplayed their opponent, scoring twice more. Kois scored her second and Jasmine Quezada added the final nail in the coffin with 15 minutes to spare. This is the fifth time in five years the Cyclones have made it to finals.
"It was a very complete and dominant performance from us. I'm very happy about the way we played and obviously the result as well. I've been telling the team all year long, it's not about how you start it's about how you finish. Right now, we are playing the best soccer we have all season by far. It's nice to watch," Palar said. "It was nice to avenge our loss from earlier in the season to Bryant & Stratton, and I knew we would. They have some very talented players and a good coaching staff, but I was glad to get another shot against them since we didn't play very well the first time around. Now it's on to the final against the top seeded College of Lake County, who has been very dominant this season. It should be a very good game."
The Cyclones face Lake County in Grayslake on Sunday, Nov. 3, at noon, in the region finals.