Soccer: Andrew tops Reavis to win Windy City Ram Classic
By Steve MIllar For Sun-Times Media September 3, 2012 8:54PM
Andrew's Jesus Mendez (left) celebrates his goal with teammates Kevin Pokrzywa (center) and Mike Ehlers. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 5, 2012 6:14AM
Andrew was the outsider in Monday’s Windy City Ram Classic championship at Toyota Park, an underdog making its first appearance in the title game against the host and perennial contenders from Reavis.
If there were any nerves or any sense of intimidation for the Thunderbolts, though, it sure didn’t show.
Andrew took charge in the opening moments, going ahead on Colin McLaughlin’s goal less than four minutes in, and never looked back in a 3-1 win.
“This is really special for all of us and for our coach (Pat MacDonald) to finally win this,” Andrew’s Austin Stariha said, “especially after we lost in the first round to Argo last year.”
Glorind Lisha had a goal and an assist for the Thunderbolts (6-0), capping a tremendous five-game performance in the tournament, while Jesus Mendez added a goal off a Jonathan Sustaita assist.
Kamil Szczesniak, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, scored the lone goal for Reavis (4-1), which was appearing in its fifth title game in the 11-year history of the event and fell short of its third championship.
Andrew was the much sharper team early and had a goal waved off on an offsides call before scoring one that counted moments later. Lisha collected the ball in the corner and sent a perfect cross to McLaughlin, who finished with a well-placed shot to the far corner.
“Colin hit it perfectly,” Lisha said. “It was a nice goal and a good start for us to get our jitters out.”
After assisting on the match’s first goal, Lisha scored the final one, delivering the dagger by finishing on a counterattack with 5:51 left in the match.
Lisha then ran to the sideline and motioned for the raucous Reavis student section, which traded jabs with Andrew’s all day, to be quiet.
“That goal felt good,” Lisha said. “I was frustrated after missing a lot of chances earlier.”
Andrew led 2-0 with 20:55 to go after Mendez poked in a rebound after Sustaita’s laser was saved by Cristian Ayala.
Reavis came right back, drawing a penalty kick 55 seconds later which Szczesniak converted, though it wasn’t easy against E.J. Kirn. Kirn, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding goalkeeper, got a piece of the strike, but couldn’t quite stop it. It was one of just four goals allowed by Andrew in the tournament.
Reavis had plenty of opportunities, including seven corner kicks, but couldn’t finish.
“We were definitely flat early,” Rams coach Bob Morack said. “Give credit to Andrew. They came out ready, and their physicality was a big problem for us early. They capitalized on their chances. I told our guys that we did a great job to get here.”
Andrew, which was just 4-15-1 last season, clearly has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the area.
“The start of all our games have been like (Monday’s),” MacDonald said. “We’ve got good leadership.
“We’re happy. How could you be 6-0 and not be happy?”
Marist 1, St. Joseph 0: Marist (4-1-1) won the third-place match at Toyota Park as Billy Miller scored off an assist from Mike Trenino.