Elmwood Park likes how it sizes up against Willowbrook
Elmwood Park, 10/06/12 Elmwood Park's Aleks Grabowski competes with Willowbrook's Ben Draus for possession of the ball during their match in Elmwood Park October 6, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 8, 2012 11:51PM
ELMWOOD PARK — When Kamil Trestka’s shot from 30 yards out sailed under the crossbar on Saturday, just 40 seconds before halftime, Elmwood Park’s boys soccer team was in a good place.
Unfortunately, the Tigers weren’t able to stay in that good place for long.
Trestka’s goal put the Tigers up 1-0 on visiting Willowbrook at halftime of their nonconference tilt in Elmwood Park, and through 40 minutes of play the Tigers had defended well and scored on a counter attack, just the way coach Mary Blake has drawn up this year’s team.
“We know who we are. We’re a back third team,” Blake said. “We play good, lock-down defense and try to get goals in transition. That’s been our M.O. all year. We also did a good job of that in the second half, but they got a (penalty kick) and then they scored on an own-goal, and that was that.”
Elmwood Park (5-8-3) watched its 1-0 lead disappear in the game’s 53rd minute, when Willowbrook (4-15-1) tied the game on a freekick and then struck twice in a two-minute span en route to a 3-1 win over the Tigers.
“I bring Willowbrook in here because they’re a bigger school than anyone we’re going to see in the postseason, and we were 1-1 with them,” Blake said. “I was proud of the guys today.”
With a wind in their face in the first half, the Tigers had to contend with a Willowbrook team that applied good attacking pressure, “mostly up the sides of the field,” Tigers defender Aleks Grabowski said, “but we kept them from scoring.”
The Tigers found an occasional dangerous scoring chance in transition and Trestka finally got one to fall on a shot taken without hesitation from long-range.
“We told him at practice to give it a lick when he’s 18 or 20 yards away,” Tigers coach Marty Blake said. “The worst shot in the game is always the one you don’t take. Players tend to want to try to walk the ball across the goal line, but good things can happen if you just take the shot.”
Willowbrook tied the game on a Ben Draus freekick that went in off a Tigers’ defender, and then scored on a penalty kick a minute later. The Warriors added a third goal late in the contest.