TISKILWA - Princeton's adept passing had the Paw Paw boys soccer team chasing them all night.
Gradually Paw Paw wore down and Princeton's goal total increased.
Princeton ended up beating Paw Paw 6-0 in Tuesday's regional quarterfinal game at Tiskilwa.
"Obviously, we always want to have ball control and possess the ball and make the other team chase us, and we did that (Tuesday) night," said Princeton head boys soccer coach Jason Bird. "Our guys, they controlled the ball, had good touches and good runs. At this point of the season, you hope that's something that's going to be consistent through the rest of the season."
Sophomore midfielder Gabe Kelly and senior midfielder Scott Roseberg led Princeton in scoring with two goals and three goals, respectively.
Kelly scored the game's first two goals. Roseberg followed with the next three. The final Princeton goal came from freshman forward Reece Bird, the son of head coach Jason Bird.
"We played pretty well," Roseberg said. "Usually, we play to the level of our opponent. I thought we played to our level (Tuesday) night."
Princeton entered Tuesday's game seeded No. 2 in the Stillman Valley Regional and Paw Paw was the No. 7 seed.
Princeton's win sends the Tigers to Saturday's 1 p.m. regional semifinal game against Oregon at Stillman Valley. Oregon pulled a 6-2 upset of Rock Island Alleman at Alleman on Tuesday. Oregon is seeded No. 6 in the regional.
The win for Princeton was not entirely pretty Tuesday, but Princeton did what Alleman did not do Tuesday - advance.
"If we want to come back here and play in the sectionals, we've got to win our next game Saturday," Jason Bird said. "This time of year, most coaches will tell you that a win's a win at this point, and it gives you another game to play. How it was done is not really important. Obviously, we want to play well and we want our kids to play well and continue to improve. The bottom line is we got to get the win to come back and play another game, and we're satisfied and happy with that."
Princeton is hosting the Class 1A Sectional that the Stillman Valley Regional champion feeds into this year.
Kelly got Princeton on the path to winning early with his first goal with 30:15 left in the first half. Kelly followed that up with goal No. 2 less than three minutes later, and with 27:48 left in the first half, Princeton led 2-0.
Roseberg got involved with the scoring when he dribbled around some defenders before scoring unassisted with 17:05 left in the first half.
Roseberg got a second unassisted goal with 11:09 left in the first half, which made the Princeton lead 4-0.
"That's big for Gabe. â€¦ I think he might have matched his totals for the year. I think he had two coming in, and he had two tonight," Jason Bird said of Kelly. "That's the way Gabe can play and we want him to play that way and we expect him to play that way. â€¦ When Gabe's on his game and Scott's playing the way he's capable of playing, those two guys can control the midfield, and you're going to be pretty successful."
Princeton's scoreboard quit working at halftime so exact times for second-half goals were not available.
Roseberg scored Princeton's second goal with 35 minutes left in the second half. Reece Bird scored Princeton's last goal with about 20 minutes left.
The win improves Princeton to 14-8-3 overall this season. Paw Paw finishes its season with a record of 7-12-2.
"I'm pretty confident," Roseberg said. "I feel like we're one of the best teams in the regional, obviously with the No. 2 seed (in the regional). I'm just looking forward to seeing (Oregon) and just go at it."
Erik Hall can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 195, or at email@example.com.