NORMAL — Andrew Kamischke’s primary role is to keep the ball out of the net. Friday, the University High School goalkeeper helped put one in the opposing net in the championship match of the Braidwood Class 2A Regional boys soccer tournament.
Kamischke’s long punt wound up on the foot of senior Connor Brooks, who got behind the Bloomington defense and drilled a shot into the corner of the net.
It was U High’s second goal in a two-minute stretch midway through the first half, giving the top-seeded Pioneers a 2-0 cushion en route to a 3-0 victory in a match moved from Braidwood to Normal.
“We’ve done that a few times this year … me and Andrew,” Brooks said. “We’ve found each other on a few of those long ones.
“Getting momentum was key in this game, especially with it being so cold.”
The goal came after Matt Wittman gave U High a 1-0 lead on an assist from Hunter Somers. The Pioneers (11-8-4) wasted little time adding on.
“We wanted to keep the pressure on,” U High coach Jeremy Stanton said. “We always talk about how after we get scored on or we score a goal that next five minutes is really important.
“Andrew has a long punt. We tell the guys to run right through it and that’s what Connor did.”
Somers added a second-half goal on a penalty kick as U High advanced to the Urbana Sectional. The Pioneers play at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of today’s Champaign Centennial Regional final between Urbana and Champaign Central.
U High outshot third-seeded BHS 11-2 despite missing injured starting defenders Piers Hunter and Michael Juarez.
“They’ve kind of been our leaders on defense,” Stanton said. “Without them we had Robbie (Lopez) and Dan (Schumacher) and Andrew Scott step up. That was nice.”
BHS (6-10-4) had its two scoring chances in the first half. The best was a shot by Amar Patel in which Kamischke made a diving stop.
“We knew they were going to have more of the ball than we were,” BHS coach Craig Lee said. “That’s their style. Our style is to try to win the ball off the other team and then try to break out quickly.
“We had some opportunities to do that and we just didn’t quite get the final pass to work out for us.”
BHS goalie Steven Bradford made six saves.