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updated: 8/25/2012 6:47 PM

Palatine, St. Viator on even terms

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By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent

Over the years, the annual Palatine-St. Viator boys soccer match has provided plenty of memorable moments for the faithful of these two storied programs.

The two sides got together on a steamy Saturday in Arlington Heights, and although each club experienced some bright moments during the 80-minute contest, it ended in a 1-1 draw.

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"It was a fair result," said St. Viator coach Mike Taylor, who earlier this week watched his lads roll over Lake Zurich 5-1 in the season opener for both teams. "We came back from being down 1-0 against LZ, and did it again today, which shows a lot of character about this ballclub, but we've got a lot of work ahead of us to do, that's for sure."

A frantic, fast start welcomed the crowd on hand, as each side generated some thoughtful play in the opening 15 minutes, but a lack of sharpness in the final third hurt both the Pirates (0-1-0) and the hosts.

Ethan Wolfe rose up to meet a corner from Spencer Moore to force keeper Kyle Leber to save in the 18th minute, and after the exchange the Lions (1-0-1) enjoyed the run of play for the next 10 minutes or so while the Pirates and top-flight sweeper Kyle Clancy worked on staying organized as Moore and teammate Ashwin Cornelius kept up the pressure.

"It was our first game of the year, and it took us a little while to get going, but I thought we played typical Palatine soccer once we did," said Clancy, who was an all-MSL player last fall as a sophomore for coach Willie Filian.

Leber made a fine stop on a low drive from Jackson Owens at 31 minutes, and again, later, when Cornelius' crossfield serve found Ryan Henry.

But just as it has happened dozens of times before with a Filian-coached team, the Pirates made something out of nothing on a set piece when Dave Clark thumped his header past Mike McGrath off a well-served corner by Matt Ryan-Darrah at 38 minutes.

"You always have to expect that type of thing from Palatine," said Taylor.

The Lions found the equalizer just minutes into the second period with some quick ball movement between Cornelius, Kevin McMahon and finally Ross Randon, who fired past Leber as the Pirates had some difficulty clearing the ball out of their own end.

Leber was called upon to save a header from Troy Wheeler in the 58th minute, while on the other end, Johnny Enriquez went wide with his header off a serve from Sergio Hernandez's corner.

The increasing heat and pace of the game led to a lack of possession and touch in the final 10 minutes of regulation, although Leber once again came to the rescue on a close range shot from Cornelius six minutes from time.

"We came out and with a lot of high pressure, and played pretty well for our first time out, and it was a good result as far as I am concerned," Clancy said.

The Pirates travel to Wheeling on Tuesday, before hosting three other clubs next weekend for their annual Hogan tournament. The Lions have a date with ESCC rival Joilet Catholic at home on Tuesday and a match on the road at Lyons Township on Friday afternoon in LaGrange.

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