Boys soccer: Late barrage carries Barrington past Prospect
The Barrington boys soccer team has been involved in some cliffhangers this season, to say the least.
The Broncos came into Saturday's match at Prospect with a 5-3 record, but those losses included a couple of heartbreakers, including a defeat to Rolling Meadows with 26 seconds remaining in regulation, and an overtime loss to Buffalo Grove.
And the morning matchup against the Knights -- an 11 a.m. start under threatening skies -- looked like it would be another emotional, down-to-the-wire nailbiter as well, at least until latter stages of the second half.
Nursing a 1-goal lead, Barrington scored 3 times in the final minutes to come away with a 5-1 win.
The Broncos were stellar throughout the game, and although the "guest" tally on the scoreboard at George Gattas Memorial Stadium showed the big number 5, the fact that the Knights were in the game most of the way through was a testament to the terrific play of goalkeeper Alejandro Rider-Leiner.
Despite being peppered with shot after shot during the contest, Rider-Leiner made outstanding save after outstanding save to keep Prospect close until the home stretch.
"He was outstanding," said Knights coach Michael Andrews of Rider-Leiner, "especially on a slick surface today (due to the rain). There were moments during the game where Barrington was really putting the pressure on, there were a lot of balls that were skipping, but his technique was top-notch. It's too bad the scoreboard doesn't reflect that because we really let a few in at the end, but we were very much in the game the majority of the afternoon.
"Unfortunately, the possession just wasn't there and we didn't put away early opportunities when we had them."
Broncos defender Ryan Chang played well in the opening minutes to keep the Knights at bay, then Barrington opened the scoring in the 27th minute when junior forward Ben Yaney dented the net with a left-footed shot in the box that just eluded Rider-Leiner's diving save attempt.
Coming out of halftime, the Broncos kept the momentum and had three outstanding chances in the opening 5 minutes on shots by Yaney, Niko Argyros, and Aidan Lew, but each time the Knights' keeper was up to the task.
"Early in the season we weren't creating chances," said Barrington coach Scott Steib. "Today that wasn't a problem at all. We had chances throughout the whole game."
Prospect tied the match at 1-1 when Massimo Mho scored on a scramble in front of the net, then Barrington took the lead back on a beautiful, well-placed strike by Jeremiah Gascho that nestled into the upper left corner of the goal from about 40 yards away.
The Broncos' defenders took over from there, and late goals by Argyros, Chris Kilayko, and Kamron Megyery put the game out of reach.
Daniel Hesselbein was strong in goal for Barrington.
"Daniel has performed well this year," said Steib leading up to the match, "he's a co-captain for our team, and Niko is also having a very good season for us. Daniel is a fourth-year varsity team member, something no other goalkeeper in Barrington High School history has done, and Niko has been a creative midfielder who stands out in every game due to his skill and ability."
Prospect's Declan Flanagan had a couple nice runs into Barrington territory that fell just short of producing scores, while Yaney was active on attack for the Broncos the entire contest.
"I think getting four goals in our last match against Hoffman Estates (a 4-2 Barrington win) gave us confidence," said Steib. "You can talk to any athlete in any sport -- when you're confident, you're more clinical and more efficient.
"We're riding a good thing right now and it's not because of our opponents. Prospect is a very good team that has been keeping games tight. We switched formations a few games ago and that's part of it, but I think the kids are in a good spot mentally and emotionally."