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updated: 10/12/2017 11:26 PM

Boys soccer: It's a kick for Lew, Barrington

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  • Barrington's Klaus Pallan and Enrico Ruffolo run to their goalie after the Broncos edged out Buffalo Grove in penalty kicks during Thursday's MSL Cup matchup in Barrington.

      Barrington's Klaus Pallan and Enrico Ruffolo run to their goalie after the Broncos edged out Buffalo Grove in penalty kicks during Thursday's MSL Cup matchup in Barrington.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington goalie Brett Sprengel holds up the MSL trophy after the Broncos' 1-0 victory over Buffalo Grove in the MSL Soccer Cup Thursday.

      Barrington goalie Brett Sprengel holds up the MSL trophy after the Broncos' 1-0 victory over Buffalo Grove in the MSL Soccer Cup Thursday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Charlie Frank goes up and over Buffalo Grove's Alexis Escobar in the second period of the MSL Soccer Cup on Thursday in Barrington.

      Barrington's Charlie Frank goes up and over Buffalo Grove's Alexis Escobar in the second period of the MSL Soccer Cup on Thursday in Barrington.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Connor Delahunt battles Manny Mazariegos of Buffalo Grove in the MSL boys soccer championship game at Barrington.

      Barrington's Connor Delahunt battles Manny Mazariegos of Buffalo Grove in the MSL boys soccer championship game at Barrington.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent

It came down to this:

Barrington freshman Aidan Lew was standing alone in his attempt to make history.

He was facing senior Daniel Sempoch, standing imposingly tall in goal for Buffalo Grove.

Lew strode forward and struck his spot kick the opposite way Sempoch chose, giving Barrington the 41st MSL Soccer Cup for 2017.

Nearly a year to the day after the Broncos fell in overtime against Wheeling in last year's MSL finale, Barrington hoisted the league's overall trophy after outscoring the Bison 4-3 in penalty kicks Thursday night at Barrington Community Stadium.

The 1-0 victory brought Barrington its first league title since 2004.

"Who would have thought it would be a freshman standing out there, and being the guy who would put in the winner to give us the title?" said Broncos coach Scott Steib. "I knew it had been 14 years since we last won, and that's a long time to go. But it isn't easy to win a championship in the MSL, and especially tonight, when (Buffalo Grove coach Brad Abel's) team played so hard for 100 minutes, which was exactly what we expected.

"Right after the game," said Abel, "I told my guys that I have never been more proud of a team than this one tonight. People say games should never be decided by PKs, but that's the sport and that's the way it goes sometimes. These guys fought and fought, right until the very end, and that's about all you can ask for."

The Broncos (17-3-1) quickly showed up as a threat to the Bison's bid to win their first MSL crown since 1988 when they put the onus on Buffalo Grove's defenders via top scorers Klaus Pallin and Michael Blanke.

But when Blanke went down with a game-ending injury in the 14th minute, the playing field evened up a bit for the Bison (14-5-1), who stayed with their tactical plan of absorbing pressure while looking to counter with their own best attacking players, Kyle Adams and Kevin Eloiza.

"Barrington probably had 75 to 80 percent of the possession, and they also had some great individual attacking players," said Abel. "But we defended well throughout the night, created a few chances and made them work harder than they likely wanted to."

Steib saw another key to the early going: "Their keeper (Sempoch) kept them in the game in the early stages with a couple of terrific saves," he said.

Sempoch, a four-year varsity veteran, was strong when called upon as the Broncos sent dangerous volleys in front of him, the two best of the first half coming on a Pallan attempt, and moments later when Connor Delahunt delivered a superb back-post ball to Pallan.

Buffalo Grove, which entered with a 12-game unbeaten streak, showed why it amassed such an impressive record with its relentless work rate and energy.

"We pride ourselves on being always the most fit team, and although we had a few guys injured and then lost Michael for the night, I really feel BG wore us down as the night went on," said Steib.

The best chance of the first period fell to Jonathan Peici in the 22nd minute. He latched onto an errant ball sent back toward Broncos keeper Brett Sprengel and nearly made the hosts pay for its careless work.

The second half was a box-to-box war filled with plenty of physical play, dead-ball and set-pieces opportunities and sturdy defensive play.

The first two 10-minute extra periods yielded nothing of consequence, setting up the always dramatic shootout.

Adams and Michael Botello converted 2 of the first 3 spot kicks for the Bison, while Pallan, Enrico Ruffolo and Noah Sebens were perfect in the first three for Barrington.

Sprengel turned away Christian Kozaczka, and Sempoch watched Delahunt rattle the bar to make it 3-2 after four rounds.

Manny Mazariegos drew the Bison even after his attempt went just off the glove of a diving Sprengel, setting up Lew for his late heroics.

"Even when it looked like I might be the guy going for the game-winner, I didn't think about it," said Lew. "And when I stepped up, all I thought about was putting it into the back of the net."

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