Boys soccer: Buffalo Grove holds off Meadows to reach MSL title game
Just last Saturday, Buffalo Grove senior Brian Perez tallied the only goal as the Bison won an all-important Mid-Suburban East boys soccer game 1-0 over Hersey.
Tuesday night against visiting Rolling Meadows, Perez doubled up by scoring twice as BG defeated the Mustangs 2-1 to claim the East title on Senior Night.
BG will now host the MSL Soccer Bowl at 7 p.m. Thursday against Barrington.
Perez scored first in the latter stages of the opening half off a free kick; then after Rolling Meadows tied the game after intermission, the senior found the back of the net again with the game-winner in 69th minute.
"We gave up the middle too much in the second half, but Brian has done this all year," said Bison coach Darren Llewellyn. "When you push your people out, I mean, he's scored on Fremd in overtime, on Barrington in overtime, he scored on Conant with five minutes (left). We sometimes don't get him the ball in space enough, and that's something we've been working on."
The match started out as it would continue all 80 minutes, at an extremely quick pace and both teams had chances right after the opening kickoff, with both goalkeepers (Ramon Orozco for Meadows, and BG's Charlie Mancilla) making outstanding saves.
"It was like a track meet out there," said Llewellyn, " and I knew it was going to be that way."
The teams settled in midway through the opening half, with defenders Andrew Schumacher of the Mustangs and Shant Demirjian and Anthony Limber of the Bison doing great work.
Then in the 24th minute BG (10-1) freshman Daniel Alfaro just missed on a long shot that was saved by Orozco, but just two minutes later, Perez opened the scoring on a beautiful free kick from 20 yards out that bent around the Mustangs' wall and just eluded the Meadows keeper.
Meadows tied the match at 1-1 when sophomore Wilson Espino fired home a shot from point-blank range.
"They came to battle," said Llewellyn of the Mustangs.
Then with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, Perez dribbled through and around three defenders and connected on a rocket to give the Bison the lead.
Rolling Meadows put numbers forward down the stretch and its best chance at the equalizer came with less than 3 minutes left, but with the ball bouncing just in front of the goal line, sophomore Mario Torres of the Bison made a stellar defensive play with a strong kick that dismissed the ball from the box.
In the final seconds, Nikolay Pavlov of Meadows delivered a long shot which was corralled by Mancilla as the horn sounded.
After the game, Llewellyn lauded the play of his back line.
"Considering we had a freshman, a freshman and junior (on the back line), and front of them we had a freshman, a junior and a freshman and a sophomore in front of them, you know, I didn't know what it was going to be like this year, but I decided to go with the youth, and they've been able to come out and just do it."