Dan DiLeonardi thought he had just delivered the game-winning goal in the final minute Thursday afternoon.
Sergio Blanco had other ideas.
Contact information ( * required )
Streamwood's junior goalkeeper displayed great lateral movement as he moved to his left to get a hand on DiLeonardi's 15-yard tough-angle blast with 50 seconds remaining to help preserve the Sabres' 0-0 Upstate Eight Conference River Division deadlock with St. Charles East (12-0-3, 4-0-1) at Norris Stadium.
"I was lucky to get a fist on it," said Blanco, whose ninth and final save of the game was arguably his best. "I wasn't sure if it was going to go in or out but just to make sure I got a fist on it."
"That was awesome," Sabres coach Matt Polovin said of Blanco's stop.
DiLeonardi, the Saints' high-scoring senior forward, and his coach concurred.
"Honestly I have no idea how a high school goalkeeper saves that -- it was such a good save on his part," said DiLeonardi. "The second I hit it, I knew I hit it with perfect contact. I saw it going in the top corner and didn't think he'd be able to make up the distance from the middle of the goal to the corner in that amount of time.
"I was already about to celebrate and then he comes across and nicks it."
"That save on Danny at the end was a top-10 highlight right there on ESPN (SportsCenter)," said Jennison. "We created 20-25 chances and their keeper made some absolutely fantastic saves."
Along with last Saturday's 0-0 finish at the St. Charles East tournament, the teams have now played 160 consecutive minutes of scoreless soccer against one another.
"Sometimes you just have to smile and appreciate the game for what it is," said Jennison, whose team had numerous scoring chances. "This is why soccer is the best and sometimes the most frustrating sport in the world."
The Saints' best first-half scoring chance came when midfielder Christian Memije's turnaround shot from point-blank range caromed off the crossbar and DiLeonardi's rebound header sailed just over the net.
"I think we created everything but it wasn't meant to be," said Jennison. "On a different day, the header's coming off the bar and dropping down (into the net)."
Streamwood's best offensive threats were provided by midfielders Nestor Ascencio and Christian Vences but turned aside by Saints keeper Chris Lucatorto (5 saves).
"We try to find our mids and when you've got one of the best midfielders in the country in Nestor Ascencio you want him to have the ball as much as possible," said Polovin, who was pleased with his team's ability to come away from Norris Stadium with 2 shutouts in 6 days.
"Our defense is just unbelievable shutting them out back-to-back games when they haven't been shut out all season. We don't do anything special -- we just defend as a unit back there. Of course against a good team like (St. Charles) East you've got to step it up. That's what the guys have been doing."
St. Charles East, which earned the top seed for the upcoming Schaumburg sectional, could meet Streamwood one more time before the end of the season -- at the Bartlett supersectional on Nov. 5.
"I think we'll see them a third time somewhere down the road," said Jennison, whose squad opens play in the Gateway City Challenge (St. Louis) Friday afternoon against Capital Christian, the third-ranked team in California.