Scoring has been a problem for the South Elgin boys soccer team this season, but the Storm may have corrected that problem at the right time.
Entering Saturday's play-in game of the Class 3A Streamwood regional against No. 4 seed and host Elgin, the No. 5 Storm had scored 7 goals in its previous two games. South Elgin added to that as two unanswered goals in the second half lifted the Storm to a 3-1 win over Elgin at Memorial Field.
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South Elgin (8-9-2) will take on top-seeded Streamwood at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Millennium Field.
After an evenly matched first half resulted in a 1-1 tie at the break, the Storm controlled the second half, outshooting the Maroons (8-11-4) 8-5. JC Lujan provided the game-winner in the 51st minute off a shot from 32 yards out.
"We feel motivated," Lujan said. "We're coming out strong. We've been practicing our finishing, and we're scoring a lot of goals now."
With 18:10 left on the clock, Jose Gomez provided the insurance goal off an Isaac Perez assist.
What made the Storm's second half dominance stick out was that Elgin was playing with the wind at its back through most of the final 40 minutes. Only 1 of the Maroons 5 second half shots was on goal, off the foot of Joel Chavez which was easily saved by Storm goalkeeper Richard Groenewegen (5 saves).
"We just played strong in the back," said Storm defender Owen Bott. "We knew what we had to do, and we did our job."
Bott gave the Storm a 1-0 lead about 16 minutes into the game. A Gomez throw-in from the 10-line was headed in by Bott near the right post.
Edgar Zavala, one of the Maroons' 14 graduating seniors, found the left corner of the net off a shot from just outside the box with 10:49 left in the half for the 1-1 tie. Elgin keeper Eleno Montes had 6 saves.
"Our expectations were higher than what we did this year," said Maroons coach Dave Borg. "We have a young team, and we'll be back and ready to go next year."
South Elgin dropped a 2-1 game against Elgin 10 days prior, and the Storm will look for some more revenge when they play top-seeded host Streamwood (15-2-3). Streamwood defeated South Elgin 4-2 in both team's season opener.
"I think playing on the turf (at Millennium Field) lends itself to our possession style of play," said Storm coach Nathaniel Bowman. "This is exactly the type of game that we needed to prove that we can beat teams we lost to earlier in the season."