History was made — in more ways than one — by the Lakes boys soccer team.
Richard Galat scored 4 first-half goals, with Brian Werchek assisting on three of them and Tom Cyberski on the other, as the Eagles soared to their first North Suburban Conference championship with a 4-0 victory over Lake Forest 4-0 in Lake Villa on Thursday night.
Beyond that, Lakes made history for the entire conference. It’s the first time in the 14-year history of the two-division format of the NSC that a Prairie Division team has won the overall title.
The Eagles (10-6-2) were making their third trip to the big game in the school’s 10-year existence. They lost to Lake Forest 3-2 two years ago and dropped a 2-0 decision to Lake Zurich in 2007.
“This time we got the early goal, and it gave us a lot of confidence. Then, we got a second, a third and a fourth. You don’t expect to get four goals. Really, it’s a credit to the team. Rich (Galat) got the goals, but the whole team was much more focused. The first 40 minutes was the best soccer in Lakes soccer history and the best single-person performance — we needed that. Lake Forest wasn’t a bad team. I never thought this game would be a shutout.”
Galat suffered an injury in the opening game of the season and had to miss seven games. But since recovering, he’s added extra life into the Eagles’ attack. He scored four times in a 29-minute span on Thursday and has 8 goals in the last 11 games.
“It’s huge, I haven’t had this big of a season since I was really young,” Galat said. “Just to have a game like this against Lake Forest . . . It’s just kind of crazy to score 4 goals in the first half. It’s something I never expected and nobody expected out of our team. I think we came into this game knowing that we were the underdogs, but we came out here knowing that we belong.”
Lakes got its first goal just 88 seconds into the game as Galat scored off a combination with Werchek.
“To score a goal within two minutes set the tone for the rest of the game,” Galat said. “Honestly, why we scored 4 goals was because we scored so early.”
Galat made it 2-0 in favor of Lakes in the 16th minute as Werchek lofted a ball that Galat got to first. Eight minutes later, Galat found his third goal, again with a feed from Werchek, before Cyberski set up the last goal.
Lakes keepers Kevin Ray (2 saves) and Jack Monson (5 saves) combined for the shutout, each sharing a half. Defensively, Lakes was led by Jon Borzick, Matt Goforth, Parker Edwards and Cam Tsuchida.
“We did a lot of talking and communication back there,” Borzick said. “We know what players are open that we need to mark. This game we communicated more than we have all season. Once we scored early, it pumped us up so much back there.
“We knew coach Kullby’s son (Keegan) was a good on the ball and a great passer (for Lake Forest) and we had to stay with him.”
Lake Forest (11-6-1) had entered the game riding a six-game winning streak but was playing its first game on grass since early in the season. The Scouts were caught off guard by the speed and quickness of the Eagles.
“(Lakes) caught us on our heels and we weren’t ready for that kind of pace,” Lake Forest coach Rob Parry said. “We probably had our worst practice of the season (Wednesday). We weren’t ready to start the game at 100 mph and Lakes was. They deserved it and played great.
“Werchek was incredible checking back to the ball. We didn’t get on his back and allowed him to turn. Maybe we gave him too much space.”
Lakes is left to savor a double dose of the right kind of history.
“Nobody has ever won a conference crossover in all of Lakes high school or the conference championship,” Galat said. “It feels good to bring it back to the soccer team and be the first one to do it. We made history here tonight.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.