Boys soccer: Lakes edges out top seed Woodstock
One thing that works in the favor of Lakes' boys soccer program is the competitive schedule, loaded with Class 3A opponents, that it plays in the regular season.
The benefits tend to show up at this time of year -- in the Class 2A playoffs.
Second-seeded Lakes came up with a 3-2 victory over top seed Woodstock on Tuesday in Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional semifinal play.
Jeff Milostan led the way for the Eagles with a pair of goals. He assisted on the team's other goal, scored by Matthew Mercure.
"This has been the big aspect of the team -- they have a good attitude and maintain a good focus," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "They measured up to the competition. There's no question, Woodstock had some quality players and showed why they are here. One of the things we were able to surprise the teams we played in the last game was with quick transition. I think that caught them off guard -- and they were not used to getting caught off guard."
Lakes (15-6-1) had to hold on in the later minutes against the Blue Streaks (23-1).
"(Woodstock) was resilient and a tough team," Kullby said. "They never gave up with all that time left and managed to make a game of it at the end."
Milostan started the scoring for the Eagles in the 25th minute on a penalty kick after a Blue Streaks defender was caught with a ball going off his arm in the penalty area.
Lakes went up 2-0 in the 33rd minute on a quick transition play. Shane McKeever sent a ball forward quickly and Milostan ran onto it, beating a Woodstock defender for the ball before slotting inside the far post for his 14th goal this season.
The Eagles extended the margin to 3-0 in the final seconds of the half. Milostan sent a ball in front of the goal, and Mercure flicked a header across the goal line.
"Getting the 2 goals so early in the game helps us and brings up the momentum," Milostan said. "We just built off of that from there.
"We have been doing the same thing all year. It's just that we're taking it to the next level. We don't want to end the season yet."
Woodstock came alive in the final minutes of the match. The ball was bouncing around when Brian Rico finished the chance in the 75th minute, cutting the Lakes lead to 3-1.
The Blue Streaks kept pushing forward and got another goal just a minute later. Josue Carreno scored his 20th of the season on a long-range shot into the corner that made it 3-2.
Lakes managed to protect its 1-goal lead for the remainder.
"It's been kind of our motto all season to come out and play hard and fight for everything," Kullby said. "We've never given up in a game and they continued to show it again in this one.
"I really don't think (Lakes) did a whole lot (in the first half)," Woodstock coach Matt Warmbier said. "I think they played pretty aggressively and they were a little more physical then we were. We refocused at halftime and showed that we were the better team. I kind of wished we had a couple of breaks go our way, but there's nothing we can do about that.
"Hats off to Lakes, they were able to get things to go their way and finished them off. We didn't get the breaks, and that's soccer. It's a cruel sport and the better team doesn't always win. Lakes still was a very good team and very disciplined."