Furious finish lifts Warren past Stevenson
Ivan Esquivel and Richie Flores netted goals in the last three minutes to lift Warren's boys soccer team to a 2-0 win over host Stevenson at the Vernon Hills Soccer Complex in Vernon Hills on Tuesday.
It was the seventh straight victory for Warren (8-1-3), which improved to 3-0 in the North Suburban Lake Division. Stevenson dropped to 2-4-2 and 0-2 in the division.
"Both teams had ample opportunities," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "I thought we had more. It takes only one and I thought (Stevenson) would break through there. I thought we were struggling at times. I thought we were out of it today, and I don't know why. But it's always tough to play Stevenson. No matter when we play, it's never a one-sided affair. It's always a close game."
To Ahonen's point, the teams played to a 2-2 draw in the Glenbrook South Invitational for third place in the opening weekend of the season.
Warren keeper RJ Hill made 7 saves in earning his seventh clean sheet. Stevenson keeper Jeremy Klaber stopped 11 shots, including a pair on breakaways.
"Their keeper played fantastic," Ahonen said. "Both teams were going at it, and it turned into a track meet at the end. It was an exciting game, a game of ups and downs and highs and lows. I can't speak highly enough of (Stevenson's) keeper."
Warren finally broke through in the 78th minute. Nick Haas slotted a ball for Esquivel, who ran past the Patriots defense and knocked in a shot for his fourth goal of the season.
"I was bit frustrated," said Esquivel, who was turned away by Klaber on a couple of earlier chances. "I just got the pass from Nick. I was open and took the ball. At first, I was thinking about shooting left. I saw him (Klaber) moving left, so I put the ball bottom right."
Two minutes later, Esquivel led the ball to Flores, who scored his third goal.
Stevenson had a number of chances in the second half but had trouble penetrating Warren's defense.
"We had some really marvelous chances," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "I thought Klaber played a stellar game in the goal. He was outstanding, and everybody played good out there."