Glenbard North stops Glenbard East
Glenbard North junior midfielder Christian Romero wanted to handle his second shot at a penalty kick like his team wanted to handle Glenbard East on Tuesday in the first semifinal of the Class 3A Glenbard East regional.
Everyone just wanted to get the job done, and they did with the Panthers winning 2-0.
With 16:09 remaining in the first half, Michael Botchev was tripped up in the penalty area and Glenbard North was awarded a penalty shot with Romero set to take it.
Romero's shot was grabbed by Rams goalkeeper Elvin Husetovic. Several seconds later, Glenbard North scored off a rebound, but that was waved off and Romero got a second shot at his penalty kick.
Panthers coach Gregg Koeller said the referee told him encroachment had occurred on the first PK. But Koeller said the official did not say how it had been committed.
"On every penalty kick, you're a little nervous. I knew I had missed the first one and wanted to redeem my self and get the second," Romero said.
With the victory Glenbard North (11-5-4), seeded fourth in the Schaumburg sectional, heads back to Glenbard East at 3 p.m. Saturday for the regional final.
Koeller said when it comes to the postseason the most important thing is to win and play another day.
"It's what we experienced earlier in the season against (Glenbard East). We beat them 2-0 and we knew it was going to be a dogfight," he said. "There's no easy game in the state tournament. I'm pleased to walk off with the win."
The Panthers made it 2-0 just over four minutes into the second half. Mahmood Akif was just a yard or two in front of the net and took his shot off a corner kick from Aldo Nolasco.
Glenbard East coach Josh Adler said that second goal changed the complexity of the game and opened the game up more against the 16th-seeded Rams (5-10-1).
"The first goal was unfortunate. I thought the second goal was more crucial. It changed the game and what we were trying to do. But the guys held in there pretty good," he said.
The Rams trailed in shots on goal only 11-7 and had their scoring chances against winning goalkeeper Nathan Chalus. Glenbard East's best scoring chances occurred in the second half. Just less than three minutes in, Victor Aguilar fed a pass to Hugo Aguilar on a breakaway, but Chalus made a quick save on the shot. Later in the half, Hugo Aguilar was awarded a direct free kick, but the shot went just wide.
Fourteen of this season's 21 players on the Glenbard East roster are freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Adler considers this season a learning experience.
"A lot of the guys tasted postseason soccer for the first time. They found out what it's like and it should give them the motivation and drive for what we do. Team chemistry is important, and focusing on the little things that can make a difference. A corner kick made it 2-0 tonight," Adler said.
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