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

Coach: Jason Franco
Assistant coaches:
Tim Harte, Dan Harte, Mark Davis
Jeff Melone
Marcus Williams Sr., GK
Patryk Openchowski Sr., GK
Bobby Wozniak Sr., D
Tyler Block Sr., F
Chase Hermanson Jr., F
Ben Hyde So., M
Nathan Marasigan Sr., D
Joey Connolly Jr., F
Victor Moskal Sr., M
Dino Kandalepas Sr., F
Matt Myers Jr., M
Matt Moglia Jr., M
Ejike Okpa Sr., F
Kyle Brown Sr., D
Griffin Wooley Sr., D
Kevin Sindewald Fr., M
Isaiah Jimenez Sr., F
Branden Dos Santos Sr., D
Bianca Madonia Manager
Nicole Lorenz Manager


Cougars edged by Huskies following late goal


By Mike Garofola

It's been quite a week for Hersey, and for that matter, it's been quite a season.

The Huskies have been living on the edge of late, playing three of their last four in overtime, all six in as many matches decided by one goal, yet still, way above the water line as the club heads into the final week of the regular season atop the MSL East Division.

Two points clear of both Elk Grove and Wheeling after their 2-1 victory on a humid Saturday afternoon at Conant, the Huskies kept their fans on the edge as well when Alex Mueller struck a late game-winner, just as it appeared Darren Llewellyn's lads were headed to another overtime match.

"After awhile, what else can you say," said the Hersey manager, who is never short on words, regardless of the outcome, but was stumped for a moment in his response.

"We literally were without any healthy subs because of the injuries we sustained during the game, it was hot and humid, Conant was working hard to win just about every ball imaginable. Then we get this free kick from way out, and Mueller gets knocked to the ground running through the box, and the ball goes off the side of his head on (his) way down, and somehow the ball ends up in the net.

"Like I said, what else can you say?"

That this match between the Huskies (11-3-2, 7-2-0, 21 points) and Cougars (5-8-3, 3-5-1, 10 points) ended with three goals scored was a minor feat.

Dreary play in the first 40 minutes and few quality chances looked to spell a goal-less 80 minutes, then who knows what.

"The air was heavy, it was much warmer than anyone expected and both teams had homecoming last night plus it was an 11:00 game," began Conant manager Jason Franco, "so I wasn't surprised by the play in that first half.

"I was anxious to see how the game would change if and when somebody put the first one in, and it did change dramatically. But unfortunately for us, on the wrong side of the eventual result."

There was little possession from either side in the first half hour and both backlines were rarely tested with any seriousness, although the home side had most of the play with Victor Moskal, Dino Kandalepas and Chase Hermanson having most of the early touches.

The Huskies suffered the first of several injuries, and this one was a big one, when its talented DMF, Conor Reynolds, suffered an injury to his ankle, forcing the big senior out for good in the first 90 seconds of the contest.

Llewellyn opened with some-time MF, some-time striker Charlie Davenport in the back, alongside the usual cast of Mueller, Michael Freda and Campbell White, but the veteran manager kept Davenport stationed in the back, and dropped Michael Kaczor deeper, while asking Tim Griffin to pick up the slack in the middle of the park due to Reynolds' injury.

Freshmen Alex Filian, in Llewellyn's first-11 at the start, went close in the 13th minute after John Cappuccitti and Kaczor sent the rookie up at the back post, then, again, the young outside MF had another opportunity five minutes later after some good work by Griffin forced Conant keeper Patryk Openchowski to action.

Branden Dos Santos, who took nearly every dead-ball chance for the Cougars, saw his strong left-footer to the past post headed away by White at 20 minutes, but later, his wind-aided free kick burst quickly into the box, where keeper Cristian Carranza pushed around the post, or else.

Cappuccitti, George Boyle and Kaczor created some trouble in the Cougars end, and when Openchowski ventured far off his line to clear - there was a chance for Cappuccitti to strike into the open net after collecting the ball 30 yards away, however his hopeful drive veered wide of the post, to keep things even at 29 minutes.

"I should have put that one in," muttered Cappuccitti with his usual smile as he prepared moments later to take another Hersey throw from the near touchline.

Three minutes after missing out on a golden chance, the senior hit a low smash through a five-man wall, but Openchowski stayed down on the floor to easily gobble up the 20-yard attempt.

"We didn't have a whole lot of energy in the first half," began Kaczor, who scored all three goals for the Huskies in the 4-3 OT loss to Wheeling on Thursday in Arlington Heights.

"We played and looked slow (maybe) because of homecoming and the humid conditions, but we've really become a strong second half team of late.

"You saw it against Wheeling the other day, and it was the same today (and) maybe it's because we know how important each and every game and result is from here on out."

The second half began like the first, with play a little chippy and not much going through the middle, but the Huskies were the first to assert themselves and had a good chance to test Openchowski and a nice little 1-2 combination between Cappuccitti and Boyle might have led to something at the back post.

Minutes later, however, when the Cougars failed to get out of the back, the Huskies made them pay.

With Kaczor allowed to hang around the back post, Cappuccitti easily found his big target with a well-paced serve and the senior didn't fail to drive in his fourth goal in two matches.

"John and I work that real well and just like our game with Wheeling, the defense allowed me to sit (in) there and just head the ball in," said Kaczor.

The Huskies came within a whisker of doubling their lead on a couple of occasions after the 48th-minute goal, and if not for some terrific work from Openchowski against a now-vibrant Hersey attack, the visitors could have done so.

After a long throw, Kaczor flicked to Davenport forcing a save, then it was Cappuccitti serving to the spot, where Openchowski pulled the ball off the head of Filian, with both falling to the floor in a heap.

Each player was checked out by the medical staff, with the Cougars staying on, while Filian was escorted to the bench for the day.

The Huskies continued to create a steady supply of shots on frame, with another coming from Cappuccitti at 52 minutes, then Davenport, who moved forward to test Openchowski, with the help of Jack Orlandi.

"It really took us awhile to get going today," offered the junior Hermanson.

"Our guys in the back defended really well to help keep us close until we could get going and then when we got back even, our energy finally picked up."

Hermansons' praise of his backline (and Openchowski) was spot on.

Nathan Marasigan, Matt Myers, Kyle Brown and Dos Santos were stout when it counted, as Llewellyn would note afterwards.

"They went in hard on every 50-50 ball and second ball and made it difficult for us to get anything going in their end, but for that matter, I thought Conant did a good job of tackling and winning balls everywhere."

Hermanson thought his equalizer had a bit of luck to it, but in fact, it was much closer to sensational.

Dos Santos, who provided quality service all afternoon, started it all with a left-footed serve from the midline, which appeared to have a string on it.

It attached to the shooting boot of Hermanson, who ran onto the ball, and redirected past a diving Carranza.

"I don't know, I still think it was kind of lucky," joked Hermanson of his equalizer in the 63rd minute.

Hersey lost Griffin to an injury minutes later which was followed by a flurry of chances from each club, with Jorge Castro having one from Hersey, then Ejike Okpa of Conant with Carranza off his line.

The home side was stunned when Mueller put in the go-ahead goal during a scrum set up from a long-range free kick missile by Cappuccitti.

And when Carranza beat Kandalepas to a long ball over the top from Isaiah Jimenez to end that threat in the 79th minute, the Huskies could breathe a little easier.

"We sure didn't do it the easy way, but a win, is a win, is a win, and now we just try to get a little healthier for Barrington on Tuesday," Llewellyn said on his way out.

"It was a typical game for us," began Franco.

"There wasn't much of a flow to this game, especially in the first half, but what you saw is pretty much the way the season has gone for us thus far."

"We got after it when it became 1-0, and got ourselves back even, but it's hard to figure why it took us so long to get going," said Hermanson. "I am sure all of us have been asking ourselves the same question all year long."


© 2013 WestSuburbanSports. All Rights Reserved.