Boys Soccer: Espinoza’s hat trick helps Plainfield South stun Central
BY STEVE MILLAR For Sun-Times Media October 17, 2013 10:58PM
Updated: November 19, 2013 9:45AM
Miguel Espinoza and his Plainfield South teammates sure have a Senior Night story to tell.
Espinoza recorded a hat trick Thursday and the Cougars scored four times over the final 18 minutes to rally from a 2-0 deficit and stun Plainfield Central 4-2 in both teams’ Southwest Prairie finale.
“We just had to play with more intensity,” Espinoza said. “We knew we had to step it up. After the first goal, we knew we had all the momentum.”
How unlikely was the comeback?
Plainfield Central (9-8-5, 4-3) had dominated the first half and seemed in complete control until the sudden outburst from South (6-11-3, 3-4) led by Espinoza, who leads the team in assists but had just two goals all year before Thursday’s heroics.
“We haven’t seen an offensive onslaught like that all year,” South coach Dave Brown said. “Plainfield Central absolutely ran us off the field in the first half.
“This is what Senior Night’s all about. These guys are going to remember this game the rest of their lives.”
Espinoza, a senior, scored on a quick counter attack with 17:45 left. His steal set up the game-tying goal from Michael Decker eight minutes later.
The two connected again, with Decker ‘s cross finding Espinoza for another goal with 4:36 to go.
Espinoza completed the hat trick and sealed the win, scoring with 40 seconds left.
“We were really pumped up,” Decker said. “Coach Brown said we’d never come back from a 2-0 deficit this year. Before, we were on a losing streak and we weren’t very confident. Now our confidence is back up.”
Zach Gill put in a rebound in the 19th minute to give Central the lead and the Wildcats struck again late in the first half.
Tom Poznanski’s throw-in found Gustavo Sanchez camped out at the far post, where he put it in for a 2-0 lead.
Central, though, couldn’t hang on.
“They rose to the challenge and we shrunk from it,” Central coach Kevin Fitzgerald said. “We caved under the pressure.”