Boys Soccer: Lincoln-Way West passes big tests
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media September 25, 2013 10:04PM
Updated: October 28, 2013 6:55AM
It was a historic week for Lincoln-Way West, which beat Sandburg for the first time in program history (coming in the Lincoln-Way Invitational semifinals), then knocked off Lincoln-Way East in a 2-1 thriller in the championship match.
Late goals were the difference in both matches. West coach Jeff Theiss said there’s a reason his team still is strong in the final moments of an 80-minute battle.
“It’s our legs,” he said. “It’s that hill back there behind our school. We hit that all preseason. We always talk about the 75th minute and being ready for those last five minutes. The kids know it’s not a punishment to run that hill. They’ve bought in.”
Senior Ian McGrath said the challenge of conquering “the hill” brought the team closer together.
“It’s incredible team bonding,” he said. “It’s great for fitness. We’re up there all the time.”
McGrath scored the lone goal against Sandburg with 2:30 left in the match, and Dan Petrou scored the game-winner with 15 seconds left in the 2-1 championship win over East.
For West (7-2-3), the tournament run was a momentum-builder and a confidence-builder after its first tournament of the season, the Lemont Cup, ended with losses to Lemont and Minooka.
“We had some disappointing games,” West goalie Tony Prospero said. “I think this will propel us. It’s a huge confidence boost going forward. We’re ready for conference play.”
McGrath and Kip Pavlovich lead the Warriors with eight goals each. West opens SouthWest Suburban Red play next week with matches against Lincoln-Way North and Andrew before a huge Oct. 5 meeting with Thornton co-op.
Joliet West notched another tie against a quality opponent Tuesday vs. Andrew. That joins deadlocks against Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way Central and Plainfield South.
The Tigers (2-5-4) certainly could improve on finishing games, but there’s no doubt they are one of the most improved squads in the area. West was just 2-15-5 last season.
Player of the Week
Dan Petrou, of Lincoln-Way West, is the Herald-News Boys Soccer Player of the Week.
Petrou, a junior midfielder, assisted on the game-winning goal in the Warriors’ Lincoln-Way Invitational semifinal win over Sandburg, then scored the game-winner with 15 seconds left in the championship match against Lincoln-Way East.