Huntley on verge of school history

By Brian Schaumburg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/16/2012 9:53 PM

DeKALB -- Niko Mihalopoulos wants to be part of Huntley High School's record books.

After scoring twice Tuesday, the junior is one step closer to helping the Huntley boys soccer team to its first regional championship. Mihalopoulos also added an assist as the Red Raiders beat Crystal Lake South, 3-0, in the Class 3A DeKalb regional semifinals.

"We want to make history as a school. We want to make history as a team," Mihalopoulos said. "We want to be a team remembered by everyone."

Huntley coach Kris Grabner said he thought it also will be the first time the Red Raiders play in regional championship match. Huntley (16-6-1), the No. 1 seed, will play No. 3 seed DeKalb (12-2-5) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the title match. The Barbs beat Jacobs, 1-0, in Tuesday's other semifinal.

The Red Raiders and the Barbs played to a 0-0 tie at DeKalb in late September.

"For the first five or six years (of my tenure), we maybe had one or two kids that we really serious about it," said Grabner, who is in his 10th year. "The last couple of years, it started to build. This team has the potential to do something nobody else has done."

Lucas Baker gave the Red Raiders the lead with 24:49 remaining in the first half, playing a nice give-and-go with Mihalopoulos in the final third of the field. Mihalopoulos made it 2-0 less than 2 minutes later. The junior knocked home a cross from Baker.

Mihalopoulos added his second goal with 21:13 remaining in the match.

The fourth-seeded Gators (11-11-1) were unable to create many scoring chances and did not have shot on goal. Gus Alvarez made 6 saves, 5 in the first half, for CL South.

In the second semifinal, Jacobs (11-9) failed to score in the first half when it was attacking with a strong wind. DeKalb was happy to sit back go into halftime tied 0-0.

The second-seeded Golden Eagles struggled to find many openings against the packed-in defense of the Barbs in the first half, but got a great chance early in the second. Tommy Gallagher played a ball to Eric Soto on the left side in the penalty area. After a couple dribbles, Soto fired a low shot to the far post that Barbs goalkeeper Cully Hicks got enough of to deflect the ball just wide less than 2 minutes into the second half.

The Barbs didn't have shot, let alone a shot on goal, before defender Logan Brown hit a 40-yard shot into the far-post netting with 28:59 remaining in the second half. They didn't have another shot on goal, but did enough to get a rematch with Huntley.

"It's almost been the tale of the season. We play a lot of nice soccer. We just convert a chance," Golden Eagles coach Anthony Cappello said. "You give up one, two shots on goal and they fall and that's that. It's an unforgiving game."

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