Boys soccer: Wheeling to play for MSL East title after beating Barrington
There is one day remaining in the Mid-Suburban League boys soccer regular season and the race for the East Division title between Buffalo Grove and Wheeling will be decided Thursday evening at Grant Blaney Stadium in Buffalo Grove.
The MSL East has had its share of twists and turns during the last couple of weeks but it appears it has finally straightened out after Wheeling beat Barrington 1-0 Tuesday afternoon, while at the same time Buffalo Grove went past Schaumburg 3-1.
With each club earning 3 points on Tuesday, Wheeling (9-4-3, 7-2-1) stands 1 point clear (22-21) of the Bison before the two sides meet.
"It was exactly the type of game we expected from Barrington. They're big, strong and really throw numbers at you," said Wheeling coach Kevin Lennon. "But I am so proud of the guys right now.
"We fought hard to weather the first 15 minutes of pressure, showed a great work rate, and defended in our end when they really came at us looking to get even."
The Wildcats' faithful would collectively hold their breathe twice in the first quarter hour, when the Broncos (13-4-1, 7-2-1) were close to putting one into the back of the net.
Michael Horak would dent the bar with his short-range missile after C.J. Steib set him up from 22 yards, then it was Steib missing wide at an open back post when he latched onto a terrific serve by Junior Hernandez.
"It could have been 2-0, which would have changed the entire complexion of the game but what you saw tonight is how it's gone for us this season," said Barrington coach Scott Steib. "We've had trouble scoring and that, along with us conceding the game-winner on a poorly played ball, was the difference because Wheeling made us pay the price for mistakes."
The Broncos' loss, coupled with a Fremd win in overtime over Palatine, gives the Vikings the MSL West crown for the second consecutive season.
An alert, and opportunistic Ricardo Rosales would collect an attempt by the Broncos to play back toward keeper Daniel Hesselbein, who was left out on an island when Rosales carried into the box.
Hesselbein correctly challenged off his line with the hope of persuading Rosales to shoot sooner than later, but the crafty senior touched away from the charging Hesselbein, giving him an open net to steer in his game-winner at 29 minutes.
"Ricardo has come a long way this season, and he was one of several of our guys who stepped up in our biggest game of the season thus far," said Lennon.
The home side managed its lead nicely for the final 11 minutes of the first half and would weather an excellent chance in close from Horak, then two others by Jo Cidulka inside the six-yard box.
Lennon would heap plenty of praise upon junior Leo Tule, who took over for injured Pablo Herrera as the 'Cats center-back, as well as senior Luis Aviles, who went box-to-box all day in order to ensure he and his teammates might challenge for the division trophy.
"Leo was amazing for us today in place of Pablo and even though it wasn't the best game to watch, it was one we did everything we needed to get the win and stay ahead of Buffalo Grove," said Aviles.