Boys soccer: Dundee-Crown spoils Huntley's title hopes
Juan David Pacheco and Dundee-Crown knew what was at stake for Huntley on Thursday night.
After winning six straight matches and being a perfect 6-0-0 in conference, the Red Raiders prepared to put themselves in a winner-take-all match against Crystal Lake South on Tuesday. All they needed to do was take care of business against Dundee-Crown.
With nearly five minutes left in the match it seemed as if everything would go according to plan, until Pacheco scored off a corner kick with 2:21 left in the game to tie the match 2-2.
The two teams battled for another 20 minutes in overtime but the shock had taken place and Dundee-Crown played spoiler in Huntley's conference-title hopes.
"It felt amazing knowing that they were up for the title for conference and I scored and got their dreams down," Pacheco said. "I don't want to be rude but it felt good doing that, crushing their dreams."
Huntley started the match determined, controlling the pace of the game and taking an early lead when Hayes Porsche scored in front of the Dundee-Crown net just under five minutes into the game. The Chargers continued to put together contested shots at goal but nothing went in for much of the first half.
The Red Raiders added on to their lead when Vinny Aguirre scored to make it 2-0 with 11:58 left in the first half.
Dundee-Crown continued to do what it had done all match: put the ball on net. It finally came together when Pacheco scored on a scramble in front of the net with 8:51 left in the first half, the response the team needed.
"That was huge," Dundee-Crown coach Reynaldo Vargas said. "We could've put our head down and said we're done or fight a chip away. That was a fantastic reaction."
The game became more physical in the second half, leading to stoppage of play for injured players and plenty of free and corner kicks. The key play came when Pacheco knocked in the critical goal off the corner to tie the match and dash the Red Raiders' title plans.
"They are probably the hardest-fought game we've had all year, it always is," Huntley coach Matt Lewandowski said. "They always come with a lot of energy, they work incredibly hard and they earned every bit they got and they took a little bit from us."
Huntley will travel Saturday to face Geneva before taking Crystal Lake South in a critical conference match on Tuesday. With the postseason just around the corner, nights like the one against Dundee-Crown can be helpful when the lights are the brightest.
"I think the result we have against a hard team represents what playoffs can be," Lewandowski said. "I think it's better to experience now and have that expense with a little bit of lack of success."
For Vargas and Dundee-Crown, nights like Thursday care a perfect wait to start momentum for the postseason.
"We knew we were going to come here for a tough game," Vargas said. "For us it's more about creating that momentum going forward."