Glenbrook North ties Leyden in OT, wins regional in shoot out
Updated: October 23, 2012 1:49PM
NORTHLAKE — Not many people in soccer like a shootout to decide a game, especially with a regional title on the line.
Unfortunately for Leyden’s boys’ team, it was a shootout loss, 2-1, to visiting Glenbrook North that ended its season on Friday, in a Class 3A regional final in Northlake.
“That’s soccer,” Leyden coach Mark Valintis said. “I thought we dominated the game and did what we wanted to, how we wanted to do it — except score more than one goal.”
After a scoreless 80 minutes of regulation play, the Eagles (14-7-2) found the game’s first goal when freshman Albert Arabik snuck a head shot under the crossbar in the game’s first overtime, on a feed from Ernie Alvarez.
Glenbrook North (10-3-5) tied the game in the second overtime on a Costa Lillios goal, after the Spartans sent a freekick in from 50 yards out. Bad things can happen when a ball hits the turf in a crowd at your goalmouth, and a bad thing happened to Leyden.
“The cross came in and I chested it down and cleared it, but a Glenbrook North player blocked it and sent it back in,” Leyden senior Anyer Gonzalez said. “Then the play was behind me and I guess they somehow got one in.”
The Spartans converted four kicks in the shootout to the Eagles’ one, earning the right to move on to the New Trier Sectional.
Arabik had a good chance on a breakaway in the game’s 7th minute but Spartans’ keeper Jack Pucin left his line and destroyed the play. Senior Juan Recendez sent a good handful of shots in from distance, teammate Noe Centeno sent a shot wide, and Christian Hernandez blocked a clear and nearly broke through just before halftime.
Glenbrook North is a team built on defense, and the Spartans got it done in the face of the Eagles’ pressure.
“For us to go to PKs against a team like (Leyden) says a lot about our kids’ resilience,” Spartans coach Paul Vignocchi said. “Our strength is our defense and our back four were phenomenal tonight.”
Valintis was happy with the way his side attacked Glenbrook North.
“You take what the defense gives you and you have to take the shots they give you,” Valintis said. “There’s not a lot of space back there but I thought we showed flashes of getting people in decent positions. But credit them. They stopped everything we threw at them.”
“In our other losses I’ve had something to complain about but tonight, not a thing. It’s just the way soccer goes sometimes.”
Leyden bids farewell to nine seniors from this year’s team, and they will be missed.
“We lose Anyer Gonzalez and Juan Recendez, two captains and two guys that have really been the epitome of consistency and hard work,” Valintis said. “They’ve been leaders on the field and you just don’t replace players like them.”
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Glenbrook North and Leyden soccer teams.