Boys soccer: Buffalo Grove knocks off Hersey in MSL East showdown
In the biggest boys soccer match of the season in league play it was Buffalo Grove stealing the show from visiting Hersey Tuesday afternoon at Grant Blaney Stadium.
Jon Peici smashed a spectacular equalizer four minutes after the Huskies (4-1-2, 4-1-1, 13 points) scored the opener and before the Bison took control to claim an eventual 4-1 win to go five points clear of Hersey in the race for the MSL East Division crown.
"We knew how good (Hersey) was because that's where (Darren) Llewellyn coached last year, so it was important that we go out and play our best soccer in order to get another three points to add to our lead in the division," said BG's Kevin Eloiza, who had a hand in three of the four goals, including a sensational individual effort of his own to give his club a 3-1 advantage in the 52nd minute.
"Scoring first was big for us, but when Buffalo Grove came back to even the game less than five minutes afterwards, it kind of took the momentum we had built early on right away from us," admitted Hersey head coach Mike Rusniak, who served as Llewellyn's assistant before taking over this fall.
Angel Guerrero would stun the home side when his driving header off a Kostadin Stoyanov corner in the 5th minute found the back of the net.
However the aforementioned Peici, who has made a habit of scoring important goals for the Bison (9-3-1, 6-0-0, 18 points) did so once again when he unloaded a right-footed missile just inside the post at 9 minutes.
The next 20 minutes was a seesaw, pulsating affair, with both sides attacking with purpose and pace and each creating quality chances that required some stout defending along the respective backlines.
The home side went ahead in the 38th minute when Marcin Czaplinski buried his angled attempt from the right side after teammates Alex Berk and Michael Eloyza orchestrated the game-winner.
"It was an even game for a long while, even after they went ahead with that late goal before the half, but when their attack got dialed in there was little we could do," admitted Rusniak.
The Bison would carve out a handful of chances after the break, but it was a remarkable individual effort from Eloiza that put the Huskies on their heels when his crafty stop-and-go carry allowed him to dribble free to his left before finishing into the far right corner.
Brian Perez put the icing on the cake for the home side three minutes from time off a helper from Eloiza.
"Hersey came in undefeated with just one draw, but they had never really played from behind as of yet so we figured if we could get up on them, and put some pressure on them, it would give us a tremendous advantage and it did," said Darren Llewellyn.
The Bison will face another top-flight club in the MSL Thursday when they travel to MSL West-leading Fremd, while the Huskies have reigning league champion Barrington at home.