152 W. Biesterfield Road,
Elk Grove Village
Phone 847.956.1818
Fax 847.956.4848

Coach: Mike Taylor
Assistant coach: T.J. King
Tom Martin Sr., GK
Aaron Tres Jr., GK
Javier Romero Jr., M
Kevin Klinkenberg Sr., M
Miles McDonnell So., D
Mateo Leudo Sr., M
Spencer Moore Sr., M
Zach Gyuricza Jr., M/F
Ryan Carroll Jr., D
Chris Beiersdorf Jr., D/M
Ryan Henry Sr., M
Jack McNamara Sr., M/D
Ethan Wolf Sr., D/M
Nick Eschbach Sr., M/D
Aidan Williams Jr., F
Jon Surdam Sr., D
Kyle Koss Sr., M/D
Mark Tun   Sr., D
Nick Winter Sr., M
Woojin Son Jr., F
Joseph  McCollum Jr., D
Jason Ziolkowski Sr., D/M
Kevin McMahon  Sr., M
Dominic Perrone Sr., F

Lions top Plainfield East in final Pepsi game


By Dave Owen

The letdown of barely missing a spot in the Pepsi Showdown semifinals showed in Saint Viator’s inconsistency-plagued 3-2 win over Plainfield East on Saturday.

A loss on penalty kicks to Libertyville on Thursday knocked the Lions (6-3-1) into the consolation bracket of the tournament at Lyons Township, and even a fast start Saturday only briefly masked an overall sluggish performance.

“It was a sloppy game,” Saint Viator coach Mike Taylor said. “The kids were a little disappointed – they were hoping to be playing in the winners’ bracket today after playing such a good game the other day and just being unlucky (losing on PK’s).”

The Lions’ disappointment didn’t show early on Saturday.

In a throwback to the Lions’ high-scoring late 1990s era of future MLS player Nino DaSilva and eventual pro football running back Jarrett Payton, Saint Viator blistered Plainfield East with relentless chances for the first 23 minutes Saturday.

The first shot on goal by Kevin McMahon came 20 seconds into the match, and a 1-0 Lions’ lead quickly followed in the 8th minute when Nick Winter headed in a McMahon corner kick to put Saint Viator ahead.

The Lions struck again 27:50 before halftime, as Ryan Henry broke in on right wing and sent a nice cross to an open Aidan Williams in the box. Williams did the rest with an 8-yard laser into the lower left corner for a 2-0 lead.

The next 10 minutes featured Plainfield East defender blocks on shots by Zach Gyuricza and Jack McNamara, then a diving save of Gyuricza’s 15-yard shot from the right side off a Kevin Klinkenberg pass.

“If we put a couple of long throws away or other opportunities away, they’re not in the ballgame,” Taylor said of Plainfield East. “But they’re a scrappy team. It’s good to play against a team like that because in the playoffs you’re going to find scrappy teams like that. You’ve got to put games like that away because if you let teams like that hang around, they’re going to beat you. So we learned a lesson.”

Plainfield East’s scrappiness paid off 3:30 before halftime, when Ryan Olanrewaju raced behind the Lions’ defense to field a bouncing ball and lined a shot into the upper right hand corner to make the score 2-1 at halftime.

But the next bad bounce would go Saint Viator’s way.

Off a long pass upfield by the Lions’ Mateo Leudo, the ball skipped past the Plainfield East goalkeeper as he tried a clearing kick of the bouncing ball at the top of the box. That freed up a charging Gyuricza for an empty net putaway and a 3-1 lead with 37:15 left.

“It was a bad bounce and he whiffed on it,” Gyuricza said. “It was unlucky on his part.”
But that easy goal preceded the Lions’ many chances and no finishes the rest of the afternoon.

“I really need to start finishing more for my team,” Gyuricza said, “because finishing is clearly one of our weak points right now. It hasn’t really been going in for us. If I or anyone else could start scoring a lot of goals, it will definitely benefit our team. With all those corners and throw-ins we get, we really need to start finishing.”

The Lions also had an unusually frustrating day defensively. Having allowed just five regulation goals all season in the first nine games of 2013, Saint Viator endured another Plainfield East strike when Olanrewaju was fouled in the box and put away his ensuing penalty kick to make it a 3-2 game with 16:30 to go.

“Our defense has been playing really well, but today really wasn’t as strong,” Gyuricza said. “It’s hard to play two days before the way we did (against Libertyville) and play a really good game again, but collectively we did all right and held them off at 3-2.

“We should have had a few more goals, but that just didn’t go our way.”

While Plainfield East had just one shot on goal after its PK (a 30-yard direct kick caught by goalkeeper Tom Martin with 2:20 left), the Lions swarmed the net throughout the half but couldn’t add to their lead.

The best of many chances began with a defender block of Spencer Moore’s shot with 33:50 to go, then McMahon’s header of an Ethan Wolf throw-in at 24:10 went just wide of the frame.

A combination sequence with 13 minutes to go added to the near-miss frustration. Gyuricza’s initial header off a Winter cross was deflected away, and Moore’s rebound header went just wide.

Despite the unexpectedly tight final score, Taylor found plenty of silver linings as the Lions continue their chase of another state trophy (third in Class 2A last year).

“I thought Kevin Klinkenberg played decent today, and Ryan Henry always plays well,” he said. “Those two were the main guys who had decent games today.

“I’ve always thought that you play the regular season to get ready for the playoffs, so let’s try to experience a lot of different scenarios. Like Libertyville the other day, we go through two golden goals and PK’s. We come back today thinking we maybe should have won that game the other day and play against a scrappy team, and you have to fight through that, relax and keep your composure.

“Not our best performance,” Taylor added, “but at the same time you look at it and say ‘let’s get through the week.’ I don’t think the adrenalin was flowing as high as if we’d have been playing on that field (in the semifinals) right now. You’d see a totally different game.”

Gyuricza was similar upbeat after four games at the Pepsi Showdown.

“The stronger teams we face, the stronger we get,” he said. “Tournaments like this really help get you ready for what’s coming.”


Custom Search

© 2013 WestSuburbanSports. All Rights Reserved.