Hinsdale Central ventured into Mid-Suburban League territory Saturday -- and the Red Devils not only left with a victory but a tournament championship following an impressive 2-0 win over host Schaumburg.
First-half goals from Phillip Gutman and Christian Meyer were all the Red Devils (5-2-2) needed to earn honors at the Saxon Invite, the annual four-team event that began Friday and also featured Fremd and 2A power Peoria Notre Dame.
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"Whenever you have the chance to play two well-coached, well-organized clubs from one of the best, if not the best soccer conference in the state, and your able to come away with 2 victories, then I would say these past two days were a complete success for us," said Red Devils coach Michael Wiggins, whose club had edged Fremd 1-0 on Friday. "We were a little worried about this match, especially after watching Schaumburg last night in their 3-3 tie against (Notre Dame), but I was really pleased with the effort the guys turned in to get this win."
"Maybe the best thing for (Hinsdale) and the worst for us was that they got to see us last night," said Saxons coach Hamid Mehreioskouei. "They came out to play, and we didn't. It was simple as that."
On Friday, the Saxons had turned in what Mehreiouskoei thought was his team's best 80 minutes of the young season. Then he watched the Saxons struggle from the onset against the Red Devils, who were not only high-percentage winners of nearly every 50-50 first and second ball in the middle of the park, but also a constant threat in the Saxons' end thanks in part to junior Christian Meyer and Stefan Jovancevic.
"I thought we did a good job of creating chances up top all throughout the game, (but) getting that second goal before the half was big," Meyer said.
Early on, the Saxons played through talented rookie Jessie Lopez in the middle, and he delivered some well-placed helpers to Kacper Wasilewski and Alan Santana. But the Saxons failed in the final third of the match to put any serious threats on frame against the Red Devils' keeper duo of Mitchell Meyer and Harley Pranger.
"We were not very good today," Wasilewski said. "From the very beginning, we were just flat, so hopefully we learn some valuable lessons from today and get back to where we know we can be."
The Saxons, who were missing three starters including 2011 All-Area defender Christian Mikalowski, watched Gutman unload a right-footed cracker that dipped down at the last moment and eluded keeper Dan O'Connell to give the Red Devils a 1-goal advantage at 25 minutes.
At 36 minutes, Lopez found Phil Minecci, who in turn set up Wasilewski -- but Meyer made a save.
Moments later, Wasilewski provided a low ball through the 6-yard box, but no one was there.
Meyer and Louis St. John worked a nifty bit of combination work in close -- before the junior fired the ball past O'Connell two minutes from intermission.
"Both last year and this year we started a little slow, but we've gotten ourselves back together, and we're beginning to play some very good soccer of late," Meyer said.