FORT WAYNE – Robert DelBello remained red hot in goal as Canterbury extended its postseason boys soccer winning streak with a 2-1 shootout win over Northrop in the finals of the Canterbury Class 2A sectional finals.
The senior goalkeeper stopped the first two shots against him in penalty kicks Saturday, running his streak to five straight PK saves over the last two games as Canterbury won its 17th straight playoff match.
I don’t think it has ever been done, Canterbury coach Greg Mauch said of DelBello’s performance in penalty kicks. I have never seen it; unbelievable. He’s living right.
DelBello stopped Carroll’s three attempts in Canterbury’s 2-1 sectional semifinal win Wednesday.
I was scared we were going to go to PKs, but the confidence just came back, and I happen to get them right again, DelBello said. I guess I had more confidence this time.
The 2011 and 2012 Class A state champion Cavaliers (11-7-1) will play Bellmont (10-8) in the regional semifinals at Carroll at 6 p.m. Thursday. It is Canterbury’s first season in 2A after moving up because of the IHSAA’s success factor.
The Cavs and Bruins battled to a 1-goal tie through regulation and overtime. DelBello guessed right on the Bruins’ first two chances with diving saves and the third hit the cross bar.
I couldn’t ask anything more from my guys, Northrop coach Billy Foreman said. Their goalkeeper made that first save, and he got into our heads. I have never seen a goalkeeper make five straight PK saves ever. We knew that, and we thought about that too much. Guys will get into a routine and do things over and over, and then when a keeper makes these great saves you are going change your mind and make some mistakes. Unfortunately, it looks like this keeper got to us, and they didn’t go where they usually go.
Canterbury connected on its first two shots in the shootout, and Riley DeJong got the game-winner with a shot that hit the left post and glanced into the back of the net.
Really I am not nervous at that point, DeJong said. Any of our other guys can make it, so it is just a matter of putting it into the net at that point. (DelBello) is amazing. He is just playing out of his skin every game.
Josh Mahon put the Bruins up 1-0 at 30:53 in the first half before DeJong tied the score at 1 at 11:40 in the second half.
As soon as we scored, the whole team picked up the tempo, DelBello said.
Northrop (10-7-1) beat Canterbury 5-0 on Sept. 26.
We thought we made a lot of progress since that drubbing, Mauch said. For all these guys because we are such a young team they had to come to grips with being focused and playing for 80 minutes. We still didn’t do it today, the first 15 minutes were all them. But we got stronger after that and somehow we have to stretch that 65 out to 80.