Boys soccer: Maine East, Atia turn away Maine West
There were several heroes for Maine East Tuesday night in Des Plaines but none bigger, or taller, than Ramy Atia.
The Blue Demons' 6-foot-3 keeper was spectacular all throughout the 80-minute Central Suburban North contest, saving a penalty kick along the way while commanding his box with bravery and outstanding decision making to help his club earn a 2-1 boys soccer victory over rival Maine West.
"Defensively we played well. Our midfield was solid, especially in the last half of the first half, and we battled hard to get a big win over our closest rival," said Atia.
Maine West, looking to move out of the cellar of the division, stunned the Demons (4-6-0, 2-0-0) by scoring the opener at 16 minutes but saw Atia stop a handful of quality chances to dash their hopes of earning their first win in the North.
"This is kind of the way our season has gone thus far," said Warriors' head coach Alan Matan.
"This is a team that plays hard, is very passionate about the game, and gives all it has for 80 minutes. We didn't finish the chances we had; their keeper made sure of it, and they buried the chances they had so give them credit for the win."
Junior Kacper Woroszylo took full advantage of one too many square passes by the Demons in their own end with an interception, and strong run past the last man to beat Atia from in close.
The Warriors (1-9-0, 0-4-0) held the one-goal advantage following the 16th minute goal until the half-hour when Joey Vertino stayed with the flight of the ball toward the back post before sending his one-timer the other way, and past keeper Patryk Ryt, who made a valiant challenge off his line.
The Vertino equalizer came after the Demons put together some of their best possession of the first period, inspired by Ali Eidan, Sebi Onis, Edin Matezic and Gabbe Szorz.
Just after the intermission, an inadvertent hand ball in the box sent Johnny Kiwarkis to the spot but his effort was turned away by Atia, who went to his left with full extension to take away the Warriors' second goal.
"On PKs, I just watch how the player will set the ball up, then using intuition, and a feeling of where they will go with their shot, I make my move," said Atia.
Twelve minutes later, Eidan struck the game-winner when he teed up his 16-yard blast after Simon Aye did all of the work to allow his teammate to finish.
"Patryk was very good in goal for us tonight, Worosylo gave us a strong effort all throughout, and No. 6, Krystian Wojtylo, was terrific as our center-back," Matan said.