One too many set pieces did in Barrington late Saturday night.
Hoping to lift the championship trophy at their own tournament for the second consecutive year, the Broncos (5-1-0) were stunned by an 87th minute goal from Alexis Galvez that boosted Rockford Boylan (5-1-1) to a 1-0 title victory -- one year after falling 2-1 in the final to the hosts.
"When you concede set pieces, one of them is bound to find its way into the back of the net, but Boylan and (coach) Chris (Mera) are great opponents, and they have a terrific program, and to play 100 minutes like we did tonight against a quality team says a lot about my guys," said coach Scott Steib, whose Broncos have allowed just 2 goals in their first six matches this season.
"Win, lose or draw, we really enjoy coming to this tournament and getting in games during the week against diverse opponents and different styles, and to come away with the title makes it all that much better," said Mera, who had to replace three-fourths of his backline and starts several newcomers.
The first half featured plenty of energy and hard tackling, leaving little room or time for precious chances from either club.
At nine minutes, the Broncos' Giles Phillips put a serve onto the head of his 6-foot-4 teammate Jonathan Wilson, but keeper Nathan Wisbey made the save.
Gabriel Moreno, Jaime Vera and Galvez, who each took turns causing trouble when on the ball, created some dangerous opportunities for the Titans throughout regulation, including a nicely sent ball by Galvez from the right flag that required the Broncos backline to clear it from the back post.
"We were a lot better on the ball than last night in our win over Lake Zurich," said Steib about the Broncos' attack in this match.
The Broncos had trouble solving the Titans' aggressive trap.
Broncos junior keeper Pat Deroche, whom both Steib and assistant Joe Zimka praised for his performance, was composed and fearless on all of the searing free-kick serves from Tristan Davenport, including one at 40 minutes and a well-paced attempt at 59 minutes.
The Broncos brought pressure late in the second half, much to the liking of senior David Conrad.
"We played more composed with the ball and our runs out of the back helped produce more in our attack and created some decent chances for us," Conrad said.
Wilson had a couple of good chances, the first coming up the left side with the help of Morris and Griffin Claes. Later his 25-yard smash was blocked by Davenport, who went airborne to do so.
Davenport initiated the game-winner with another free-kick serve, this one to the spot where a teammate flicked it forward and onto the foot of the opportunistic Galvez -- who drove home his game-winner.
The Broncos didn't fold -- and nearly found the equalizer minutes later when Wilson was put through. But the hard-working striker drove his shot over the bar.
Wilson, Conrad and Connor Hennelly helped keep the pressure on the Titans to no avail, and the NIC-10 soccer power carried home the hardware.
"Again, there were a lot of good things to take from this game," Steib said. "So far, so good with Barrington soccer.