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updated: 9/16/2013 12:21 PM

Vondrak boots Libertyville to victory

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

Calll it survival, hopefully of the fittest.

The fifth-ranked Libertyville boys soccer team barely escaped with a victory its opening game of the 10th annual Pepsi Showdown tournament.

Thomas Vondrak converted a game-winning penalty kick in the final 77 seconds, lifting the host Wildcats to a 2-1 triumph over stingy Glenbrook North on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The game had been rescheduled from Saturday because of the observance of Yom Kippur.

The Wildcats (3-3) have been hampered by a spate of early season injuries.

"We found a way to win," said Wildcats coach Andy Bitta. "I really don't think it hurt us all that much. I thought we did a good job, but we had a tendency to panic too much with the ball.

"I thought we played well for the first 30 minutes and took it to them in the last five minutes. I really didn't think they were that bad of a team with their record (0-6-2). We just played well enough to win."

The Wildcats welcomed back Nick Vogel to the lineup from an ankle injury he had suffered in a game against Evanston. Vogel didn't score, but he caused havoc up top and created the game-winning penalty kick when he was fouled by a Spartans defender in the box.

"I was trying to do my best out there," Vogel said. "I was a little skeptical coming back from the injury and worried about it in the back of my mind."

The Wildcats received their other goal from Ryan Dawson off a Vondrak assist early in the first half.

The Spartans' Seth Gilford tied the game at 1-1 in the 30th minute.

The Wildcats are expected to get forward Lloyd Chatfield back for the Round of 16 tournament match Tuesday when they host Chicago Washington at 6:15 p.m.

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