Boys soccer: Mundelein, Warren advance with PK victories
Mundelein goalkeeper Nathan Espinosa couldn't ask for a better moment in leading the Mustangs in the Class 3A Mundelein regional semifinal Tuesday afternoon in Mundelein.
Espinosa stepped up in the best way possible during penalty kicks by making a couple key diving saves. It led 13th-seeded Mundelein over No. 3 Lake Zurich 2-1; 3-1 in penalty kicks.
Espinosa, after making his final save that earned the victory, and the rest of the team went over to the fence of the stands so he could do the Mustangs leap.
"It was all for the moment," Espinosa said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I just knew my team needed me in the moment. A lot of the guys wanted to know if I wanted it. I just had a gut feeling. I took it and that was the result. We've been focusing on penalties just looking at any sign that gives us an advantage where their going."
John Chambers, Alex Hildrogo and Adrian Rosales each scored on the PKs.
"I'm not stunned and I wouldn't call it an upset," said Sebastian Falinski, whose team is now 5-0-1 over its last 6 matches and 10-7-3. "Our boys have worked all season long and we've lost some close, big games. I thought our boys wanted it more."
The Bears opened the scoring in the 10th minute on a counter attack. Ian Ferguson set up the pass to Connor Furlong, who netted the goal for a 1-0 advantage.
In the 17th minute, the Mustangs evened the score at 1-1. Omar Mangato scored on a header off a redirected ball from teammate Bryon Morales.
Lake Zurich (12-4-4) thought it found the game-winning goal in the final minute, but it was waived off for offsides.
Both teams had to play an extra 20 minutes of overtime for 100 minutes of play before the PK's.
"We had our chances and we had a goal that we thought we scored," Lake Zurich coach Mike Schmitz said. "We hit a crossbar, we hit a post, we had our opportunities. Unfortunately, they didn't go in. Proud of my team and the way they battled. It's what they did all season. We played well enough to win. Mundelein played well enough to send it into overtime and PKs. Hats off to them."
Warren 2, Round Lake 1:
Sixth-seeded Warren needed penalty kicks and got past No. 11 Round Lake 2-1 (5-3 in PKs) in the other semifinal at Mundelein on Tuesday night.
"Everything we've done this year has defined the odds," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "Why would this be any different? You look at our squad, everyone has done it. We struggled in the summer, we graduated a ton of kids. We had very little coming back and all these guys have proved people wrong."
The Blue Devils (13-4-4) pulled out the match behind their keeper George McAtee (9 saves), who made a diving knock-away save off his open right hand and pushed the ball around the post on the fourth kick.
"It was more about the placement of the hand," McAtee said. "In the grand scheme of things, there's a certain amount of saves in a game and for the nature of the game, is when you make them. I wouldn't say it's bigger then the others I made."
Warren's Miguel Garcia scored the winning kick and sent the Blue Devils into the final.
Garcia also scored the first goal on a penalty kick in the 37th minute after a foul in the penalty area for a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers tied the game with a PK of their own in the 50th minute after a foul in the box. Keeper Jerry Perez converted the kick.
Round Lake's (9-6-5) effort was there throughout the 100 minutes and into the penalty kicks. They also had a good season against some very competitive schools.
"It's all year, that we don't have that goal-scorer that we've always had," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez said. "We do compete and we lost this one in PKs."
Warren will play Mundelein in the regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday at Mundelein.