It was only fitting the nightcap of the Class 3A York boys soccer sectional semifinal Tuesday night between U-46 rivals South Elgin and Larkin needed extra time.
But double overtime?
How about penalty kicks?
Try sudden death PK to be absolutely sure.
In like one of those 20-inning baseball affairs, Larkin’s Freddy Alvarez knocked in the game-winning PK boot to send No. 3 seed Larkin into the sectional championship with a 2-1 win over No. 10 seed South Elgin.
The Royals (15-5-4), who said last week in the regionals they wanted No. 1 seed St. Charles East, the Upstate Eight River champs, gets their wish on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
“PK’s is a tough way to win or lose, it’s just a lot of pressure,” Royals coach Ken Hall said. “I just tried to keep calm, I’ve been doing this for such a long time I just go with the flow. I’m just going ‘c’mon make it, c’mon make it.’ ”
Larkin almost didn’t make it through the first set of penalty kicks. The Royals grabbed a 2-1 PK lead but missed their fourth attempt. Tyler Piszczek and Alberto Bustamante guided goals in to give South Elgin a 3-2 edge. Michael Gomez, Larkin’s last hope, punched it to the right of Tyler Shipon’s right to force sudden death.
Daniel Hopkins’ shot for South Elgin (8-12-3) went high over the crossbar which set up Alvarez, who slid it left for the clincher.
“I was like,’ just make it, get the crowd going,’ ” Alvarez said. “I was confident. I know how to take a PK, I just finished it. It’s real memorable. “
South Elgin looked to take advantage of Larkin missing Tony Hernandez to a sprained MCL and Junior Escalante to a broken leg with Owen Bott’s goal off a rebound just 5 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead. Erik Rodriguez helped tie it up as he set up Jazael Medina’s goal in the 30th minute.
Both teams traded multiple opportunities. Diego Ramirez missed 3 point-blank shots in a 20 second span, including one that hit the left post that rebounded right back to him, where he missed it wide on the next try.
South Elgin’s Matt Padron set up Jacob Hicks for a beautiful header that just missed wide left. Adam Smith’s shot from about 40-yards out nailed the top crossbar, hit the ground and barely missed crossing the line with 10 minutes to go, a microcosm of the Storm’s recent playoff memory against Larkin.
“Honestly, if that’s the way you’re going to end it, that’s the way to go,” Storm coach John Uveges said. “We’ve lost two regionals to this team, we lost in the last 20 seconds in a crossover last year, this is tough for us. Larkin, other than Bartlett, has to be our grudge match and we take them very seriously.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.