Baruk Perez-Vera scored with less than 10 minutes left to break a tie and then set up a goal, as Grayslake North's boys soccer team advanced in the state tournament Wednesday night.
Sintayehu Meyer scored twice for Grayslake North, which defeated visiting Grayslake Central 3-1 in the rain to advance to Saturday's 11 a.m. Class 2A regional final at Grayslake North. The third-seeded Knights (9-14) will play top-seeded Prairie Ridge, which was a 4-1 winner over No. 4 Wauconda.
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"Tonight we struggled a little bit to find purpose in our possessions, while Grayslake Central did a nice job controlling the ball in the adverse conditions and put us under a fair amount of pressure," Knights coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "Fortunately, though, we were able to capitalize on some really nice scoring chances and a found a way to get the win in a very windy and rainy game."
Grayslake Central, which was the No. 2 seed, struck first, just five minutes into the match.
Grayslake North didn't net the equalizer until about four minutes remained before halftime. Perez-Vera played a ball across the face of the goal to Arnaud Laroche-Bataille, who kept the ball moving into space for Meyer, who finished.
With the score even at 1-1 and overtime looking like a possibility, Perez-Vera won the ball from a defender, attacked the goal and placed a low shot into the far corner of the net. Minutes later, Perez-Vera maneuvered the ball past the onrushing keeper and fed Meyer, who deposited the ball into an empty net.
"We played hard and kept fighting," DeCaluwe said. "The boys got a well-fought victory from a really tough game against our biggest rival."