New Trier applies pressure, gets past Leyden
Leyden ventured far away from the West Suburban Conference late Wednesday night, and its trip to the north shore proved to be a bit unfriendly.
Perennial Central Suburban League power New Trier had too much firepower for the Eagles (7-8-1), scoring 3 second-half goals and sending Mark Valintis' club home on the short end of a 3-0 result at the school's west campus in Northfield.
"We started out a little bit in awe of the big field, and the pace and physical play by New Trier was a little too much for us to handle," said Valintis, whose team had won two straight. "We played our way back into the game after a slow start and learned a lot about ourselves, but still didn't do enough to beat a very good team."
The Trevians (9-1-6) delighted a big youth club audience during the opening stages as they attacked and came close on a couple of occasions, putting the visiting Eagles on their heels.
"We were asleep at the start, and we weren't able to focus because of the stadium, and with the way (New Trier) came out and played so fast," said Leyden senior midfielder Christian Hernandez.
New Trier's edge in size made thing difficult in the middle for Leyden.
"We had a difficult time winning the 50-50 and second balls all throughout the night, and that caused us trouble, even when we had some of the run of play," Valintis said.
New Trier's fine start was in part due to the terrific skills shown by senior Jack Cornelo, who made his mark on the match from the onset.
"We had a great 15-20 minutes to open the game, but we kind of got away from doing what was working for us, and fell into what Leyden wanted to do," said New Trier coach Wes Molyneaux. "That was to play direct and target No. 32 (Albert Arabik) up top, and that's when we lost a little bit of that confidence we were playing with."
The Eagles opened the second period on a bright note, with Arabik collecting a quality helper from Moises Merlos, holding off a defender and breaking free before firing wide with a left-footer.
Moments later, David Senk found Arabik, who used a nifty chip of Trevian keeper Andrew Gjertsen to put a nice ball to the back post. But Hernandez was unable to beat a pair of New Trier defenders to the loose ball.
"We played more like we can at the start of the second half, but when they scored that first one, I wasn't sure if we would bounce back," said Valintis. "We did, but that second one really took a lot out of us, and it was only a matter of time before the third one would come, all because we were not were we should have been mentally."
The Eagles' defenders were looking for an offsides flag from the assistant referee, but New Trier's Will Belliel didn't delay as he roared in from the right side and beat keeper Alfredo Recendez at 47 minutes.
Kevin Flores went wide from 18 yards three minutes later, and Arturo Vidal forced Gjertsen to save his attempt in the 62nd minute. But the Trevians still were in control at midfield, and it became 2-0 when the hosts ran a classic counter, with Spencer Farina steering in a close-range shot.
Steven Childs ensured a New Trier victory after going past Recendez despite a nice save on the initial blast from the sophomore on the initial blast from Kyle Berglund.
Leyden lost Arabik (12 goals) when the sophomore collided with Gjertsen on a 50-50 ball in the box in the 72nd minute. The sophomore will likely be evaluated on Thursday, with his status questionable for Saturday's match at home against Wheaton North.
"Leyden was a quality opponent, and one that we were thrilled to schedule because of their different style of play," said Molyneaux. "We feel that will help us in the playoffs, especially after seeing quick, possession teams last year with Mather, then Lane Tech, which eliminated us from the postseason."
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