There was an air of inevitability about the outcome from the moment St. Viator's Aiden Williams made the net billow.
His goal was followed by a double from teammate Zach Gyurizca after six minutes, but Lions coach Mike Taylor never felt as if his club was in control until the final whistle blew to signal a 4-2 boys soccer victory over crosstown visitor Prospect on Saturday morning.
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Williams and Gyurizca exhibited predatory instincts when the Knights allowed opportunities, which helped the Lions (2-1-0) to a commanding 3-0 lead at the break.
Prospect (1-2-0) sprung back to life, pulling one back at 50 minutes and then nearly striking on two other occasions before Gyurizca added some insurance to seal a second consecutive victory in Arlington Heights for the Lions.
"It's the kind of start you want to have, but you can't follow that up with lackluster play and mistakes here and there, because a team will make you pay and Prospect nearly did," said Taylor, whose club on Friday beat Totino-Grace of Minnesota 1-0 with a goal in the 79th minute.
"We're shorthanded, have a few other guys less than 100 percent, and we're inexperienced in several spots," said Prospect coach Jason Cohen, who was without defenders Ian Lenke and Dan Marshall and also found out late that tri-captain and midfielder Dominick Taldone would be unable to go in this nonconference matchup. "That's not an excuse for coming out and conceding 3 goals in less than 10 minutes -- it's just not acceptable."
The Lions were vibrant from the opening whistle, culiminating in a tough for the visitors, who gave keeper Peter Flynn little support in their own end.
"We were terrible at the start, and we didn't really start playing until late in the first half, but at least we got ourselves back into the game after the break with some much better play," said Prospect senior Alex Whiteman.
Flynn and his back-line mates suffered a communication breakdown at 20 minutes, and freshman Jack Hartman nearly made the Knights pay for it. Moments later, Flynn beat Javier Romero to a 50-50 ball over the top with a quick first step off his line to prevent any further damage heading into the intermission.
Whiteman cut into the Lions 3-goal advantage 10 minutes into the second period, finishing his run with a deft touch for his second goal of the season.
The senior limped off the pitch in the 57th minute and did not return, but junior Chris Cooney gave the Knights' attack a lift in the final 20 minutes with strong running and creative work with and without the ball. His goal came at 77 minutes, just seconds after Gyurizca made it 4-1.
"Yesterday against Totino-Grace, we missed several shots from in close, including myself," said Gyuricza. "Today we hit our first three, then we didn't play well afterwards. We've got to get better balance and play a full 80 minutes if we expect better results,"
"Next weekend we're up in Milwaukee to play Peoria Notre Dame and nationally ranked Chaminade (St. Louis), so we cannot play like this," said Taylor. "But if we do, we're certainly going to learn a thing or two."