Game in and game out this season, Grayslake North's boys soccer team has been competitive.
But for one reason or another, they seem to find themselves a goal short more often than they'd like. And that trend is extending to midseason, as the host Knights fell 2-1 to Niles North in a steamy nonconference matchup Saturday afternoon.
"We're working hard -- sometimes we do the right things, and sometimes we're not," Grayslake North coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "We just give people too much space and pay the price for it."
The match saw temperatures in the 90s, and on the turf it was much hotter. Extra water breaks built into each half helped keep players hydrated.
"It really was the same thing for both teams," DeCaluwe said. "(Niles North) made use of their chances, and we had some chances that we didn't take care of very well. Still, it was a good game."
Niles North (8-5-3) got on the board first in the sixth minute of play. After a foul in the penalty area, the Vikings' Irfan Kmdzija converted a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead.
Grayslake North (6-9) tied it about eight minutes later when Will Meyer finished a shot out in front after a pass from Angel Uriostegui.
"We've seen so much improvement," said Uriostegui of the teams' progress. "That's what we need to continue to do."
The Vikings got the game-winning goal in the 66th minute off a set piece. Sebastian Alvarez sent a long kick into the penalty area, and Kmdzija sent a header into the back of the net.
"I really thought the heat got to both teams and I thought the game was unconnected at times," said Niles North assistant coach Ivan Milicevic. "I think at the end, it was just good scoring on a set piece after losing our last game almost the same way. (Grayslake North) had some unfortunate bounces on the back end. I thought they were coming forward hard and had some nice forwards on the wing."