Boys soccer: Murgas, Carmel pull out win against Fremd
Carsten Murgas' goal in the 78th minute gave Carmel Catholic a thrilling 2-1 victory over Fremd in a Class 3A boys soccer regional semifinal contest Wednesday at Baker Stadium in Mundelein.
The East Suburban Catholic Conference co-champs advanced into their own regional final this Saturday against No. 2 seed Waukegan at 11 a.m.
"It's hard to believe this game was only a semifinal -- both teams deserved to be seeded much higher, and it showed, because it was a great game from start-to-finish," said Corsairs coach Ray Krawzak. "We felt real good about conceding just 1 goal in that first half with that strong wind at the backs of Fremd. And we knew if we defended well and got the ball to our speed guys up top, we would have a chance to get out of here with a win."
The Corsairs (15-2-1) were able to prevail in regulation after absorbing all sorts of pressure from the Vikings, who came into the night with a 9-1-0 record in their last 10 games.
"We played strong in the first half, dominated at times on both sides of the ball, and the only thing I wish we could have done was to put another goal or two in before the half," said Fremd coach Steve Keller.
The visitors struck early as Fremd's Jake Scesniak found enough time and space to steer in a 25-yard angled shot from the left side in the seventh minute.
With Mid-Suburban West player of the year Matt Austin and teammates Max Clark and Angel Virgos playing well together whenever the Vikings (12-9-0) attacked, it seemed to be only a matter of time before they would add another goal.
Austin had three good looks on frame in the first half, his best coming coming in the 27th minute. But the hosts stayed organized in front of keeper Kyle Knauer to keep the deficit at 1 goal after 40 minutes.
"We created a few chances and tried to use the wind by putting shots on goal, but our inability to add another in that first half didn't help us in the end," said Fremd's Dalton Rogers, who in the final game of his career for the Vikings turned in a terrific 80 minutes at midfield along with center-back teammate Ben Cuthbert.
Their was plenty more urgency in the Corsairs' approach after the break, and they never let up. Fremd, meanwhile, had trouble maintaining control of the ball and ended up defending far more than it would have liked.
"We knew it would be a physical game, that Fremd was a very good team and one that was so much better than its No. 11 seed," said Carmel standout Austin Ehren. "But I thought we matched their physical play and never stopped playing hard in a game that went back and forth at full speed."
The senior took full advantage of a communication breakdown in the Vikings' box to tie the score. And when a poor clearing attempt spilled in front of Fremd keeper Jack Taraszka, Ehren popped up and fired a shot off of the Vikings' keeper and into the goal in the 75th minute.
With this one looking likely to be headed to overtime, Murgas, a senior, instead unloaded an unstoppable 30-yard rocket.
"The ball just kind of fell to me before I let go with a one-timer," said Murgas of just his second goal of the season.
"That was a special moment for Carsten, one that I am sure that he will remember for some time," said Krawzak.
Fremd, too, will have trouble forgetting this one.
"It was a tough way to go out," said Keller. "We didn't play as well in the second half as we did in the first. While we didn't finish a couple of chances we created, Carmel finished both in the second half, all within five minutes."