Nathan Hall wasn't very impressed with how the Glenbard West boys soccer team played Thursday night in Glen Ellyn. He was just happy the Hilltoppers walked away with a 2-1 victory against Bartlett.
"It was hard for us to finish," the Glenbard West senior forward said. "I don't know why. It was tough. It was probably one of the worst games that we played."
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"We didn't really play up to our level and up to our potential," said Glenbard West coach Maciej Kusmierz, noting the team's injuries. "We just have to push on through. Credit to our guys for trying, for coming back, but the level of our play needs to improve."
Bartlett (1-12) scored first, taking a 1-0 lead on Carlos Avina's goal in the 24th minute.
Hall tied the game seven minutes later, blasting a shot from 9 yards off the fingers of diving Bartlett goalkeeper Justin Busch.
"I was just at the right spot at the right time," Hall said. "The ball got put to me on the right spot. I saw the open shot, so I took it. It was all Paul Selman, who was trying pretty hard out there. He probably should have gotten the goal, but it just came out to me and luckily I scored."
"Justin was huge today," Bartlett coach Ben Beary said of his goalkeeper. "This game easily could have gotten out of hand. He had two huge saves today, at least two huge ones. And that's what he's been doing for us all year. That's why we've been able to stay in games."
That's the way the game stood well into the second half. Glenbard West (10-2) outshot the Hawks 17-3, but Busch did all he could to frustrate the Hilltoppers, finishing with 7 saves and controlling his penalty area well.
Hall finally solved Busch in the 73rd minute. Selman's 20-yard chip over the top of the Bartlett defense found Hall on the run toward the Bartlett goal, and Hall used his third touch to slip a shot from 12 yards out under an onrushing Busch for the game-winning goal.
"I just saw the ball coming over the top. It was a good ball," Hall said. "It felt great considering we felt like we were the better team, having the better record. We felt like we should definitely beat this team. But we were worried the second half."
"It's kind of an unlucky result," Beary said. "The guys battled really hard today. We got caught a little off guard that one moment, got caught on our heels. You lose focus for a second and you lose the game. I'm overall happy. They had the effort today from start to finish."