Boys soccer: Mundelein edges Carmel
Gearing up for the postseason, both Mundelein and Carmel Catholic have their sights set on winning games.
The Mustangs have been struggling at the end of their North Suburban Conference schedule and wanted a way to recover at the right time.
Mundelein scored a 3-2 victory over crosstown rival and host Carmel Catholic in a nonconference boys soccer match on Thursday night.
Darren Gray netted a pair of goals for the Mustangs (9-6-4) and Camden Kowolski scored one with an assist.
"This was big for the boys, they've been struggling the last couple of games to get a result," Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. "We play a lot of good teams and it's hard to hit a little three-game skid here. We're still playing well. In terms of reinforcing their habits that's the most important part because after some tough losses, these boys showed up every day in training and ready to go. Especially for these seniors, it was one last chance to play Carmel, because we will not see each other in the playoffs. It's big for us, because we always want to beat our local rival."
Kowalski put the Mustangs on the board first with his 15th goal of the season on a head flick near the back post off a throw-in from Cole Pauly in the 26th minute.
"I got the momentum going," Kowalski said. "Always getting the first goal is huge, it gets everyone pumped and gives us confidence all over the field. I think we finally found it and got our rhythm back."
Gray stepped up for the second goal off a pass from Kowalski and fired a shot in from 25-yards out for a 2-0 advantage in the 40th minute.
Then, in the second half, Gray added another for his seventh on the season in the 53rd minute that was off a free kick. It deflected off a Carmel defender into the goal for a 3-0 lead.
Carmel (5-11-1) managed to get a couple of goals back. Ian McKernan scored a deflected goal of a free kick of his own in the 57th minute. Then Matt Duffy had an unassisted goal in the 75th minute.
"It was a fun game," Carmel coach Ray Krawzak said. "Going down 3-0 hurt, but we have a team here that doesn't quit, doesn't give up. We don't have all the skills in the world, but we believe in ourselves and play well in intense moments. I'm content to have a team with a ton of heart. Even though, we don't get the wins we've had a lot of close games."
Carmel will next play in the Class 2A Deerfield regional as the second seed and will play the winner of North Chicago vs. Deerfield on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. while Mundelein is in the Palatine regional of Class 3A as the No. 9 seed and will take on eighth-seeded Highland Park at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night.