By Chris Walker
Lightning storms interrupted soccer games throughout the area on Thursday, and the non-conference tilt between Glenbard West and Bartlett was one of the games that Mother Nature cut short.
The game at Streamwood’s Millennium Field ended in a 1-1 tie when it was officially called with 15:57 remaining in the the second half.
Glenbard West (7-4-1) struck first when Ivan Barajas perfectly struck a kick from 50-yards out. His high, booming free kick eluded the leap of Bartlett keeper Andrew Nowak to give the Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead with 3:51 remaining before halftime.
Bartlett (3-9-2) drew even a couple minutes later. In the midst of a crowd in front of the net, Hawks junior defender Zane Kaiser poked in a header from Tony Estanislao that appeared possibly destined for the net on its own.
“Someone crossed it, but I’m not sure who and Tony put a great ball that was going in, but I saw a defender coming across the line to kick it out,” Kaiser said. “I didn’t want him to accidentally get it so I just poked it in, but a lot of that came from Tony’s header. He was in a great position and I was in a position to pretty much steal it from him.”
Barajas was disappointed that his team didn’t have a chance to pull out the victory.
“With it being a non-conference game we wanted to try some new things and unfortunately we couldn’t continue to play,” he said. “I thought we came out and played pretty well. Bartlett’s a feisty team and they competed hard, but so did we. Conference game or non-conference game, we’re always looking to compete.”
Both teams had a few opportunities in the second half to pull ahead, 2-1, but neither was able to deliver. Bartlett sophomore forward Igor Zwada was left open less than two minutes into the second half, but misfired just right. Glenbard West’s midfielder also had a similar chance, but missed just wide left with 28:17 remaining.
But the best opportunity of the night came with 20:32 remaining when Barajas was awarded a penalty kick. His shot attempt flew wide, however, effectively ensuring that the match would end in 1-1 draw.
“We came out in the second half and played strong and created a couple chances, but unfortunately we couldn’t finish the game,” Glenbard West coach Maciej Kusmierz said. “I think we lost a little concentration there to give that one up at the end of the first half, and as we both know, those are critical times.”
The Hilltoppers certainly weren’t taking the Hawks lightly, knowing full well that they’re a much better team than their record shows.
“We knew that Bartlett had a couple quality wins in recent weeks so we knew it was going to be a tough game,” Kusmierz said. “We had a slow start and we kind of picked things up later in the first half.”
The Hawks' Joey Butler felt that his squad controlled the game, but unfortunately couldn’t turn it into a victory.
“We really worked the middle and had possession through the run of play pretty much,” he said. “They were a good team and they pressured us high, but once we settled it down a bit and had the run of play through the middle, I think it opened up the field well for us, and the Tony/Zane goal was one of the results.”
After being winless in their first nine matches, the Hawks are 3-1-1 in their last five.
“We made some changes and I think that really helped,” Kaiser said. “I think it changed our attitude and honestly I think it all started from there and we got a little streak going.”
The three-game winning streak ended with a loss to Metea Valley, so the Hawks were aiming to start a new streak.
“Losing to Metea after the winning streak was a downer,” Kaiser said. “We were really motivated to get back to winning today but just couldn’t pull it out.”