Boys Soccer: Lincoln-Way West passes big tests
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media September 25, 2013 9:34PM
Updated: October 28, 2013 6:55AM
It was a historic week for Lincoln-Way West, which beat Sandburg for the first time in program history (coming in the Lincoln-Way Invitational semifinals), then knocked off Lincoln-Way East in a 2-1 thriller in the championship match.
Late goals were the difference in both matches. West coach Jeff Theiss said there’s a reason his team still is strong in the final moments of an 80-minute battle.
“It’s our legs,” he said. “It’s that hill back there behind our school. We hit that all preseason. We always talk about the 75th minute and being ready for those last five minutes. The kids know it’s not a punishment to run that hill. They’ve bought in.”
Senior Ian McGrath said the challenge of conquering “the hill” brought the team closer together.
“It’s incredible team bonding,” he said. “It’s great for fitness. We’re up there all the time.”
McGrath scored the lone goal against Sandburg with 2:30 left in the match, and Dan Petrou scored the game-winner with 15 seconds left in the 2-1 championship win over East.
For West (7-2-3), the tournament run was a momentum-builder and a confidence-builder after its first tournament of the season, the Lemont Cup, ended with losses to Lemont and Minooka.
“We had some disappointing games,” West goalie Tony Prospero said. “I think this will propel us. It’s a huge confidence boost going forward. We’re ready for conference play.”
McGrath and Kip Pavlovich lead the Warriors with eight goals each. West opens SouthWest Suburban Red play next week with matches against Lincoln-Way North and Andrew before a huge Oct. 5 meeting with Thornton co-op.
Big stage for small schools
Illinois Lutheran and Beecher, who shared last season’s River Valley Conference title, met Saturday at Toyota Park, with the Chargers coming out on top 2-1. Justin Schmidtke, who has 14 goals on the season, scored the game-winner for Illinois Lutheran (10-2).
Evan Henschel leads the Chargers with 16 goals.
Illinois Lutheran went on to clinch at least a share of the River Valley title with Monday’s 2-1 win over Grant Park.
Player of the Week
Brian Greenfield, of Marist, is the SouthtownStar Boys Soccer Player of the Week.
Greenfield, a senior midfielder, totaled three goals and three assists in three matches, all of which were RedHawks wins.