Boys soccer: Palatine moves closer to MSL West title
Palatine took another step forward in its quest to win the MSL West after its 2-0 win Tuesday night over visiting Rolling Meadows at Chic Anderson Stadium.
Seniors Devin Ashby and Sebastian Khoury would pave the way to victory for the Pirates (12-0-3, 6-0-2-20 points) -- each scoring on either side of the halves. Ashby bagged the eventual game-winner in the 38th minute to help the home side stay ahead of second-place Schaumburg in the MSL West.
"We knew coming in that Rolling Meadows was a good team, with a great keeper, so we had to be at our best. And for the most part, I feel like did really well tonight," said senior Jordan Mok, whose ability on and off the ball is a big reason for the Pirates' success this season.
"We created some very good chances, and probably should have put a couple of them in, (but) their keeper played great tonight to help keep them in the game," added Khoury.
The visitors, despite this defeat, would play the league-leading Pirates even during several stretches of this contest, using some marvelous play from its keeper Marceli Okonski. The Mustangs also got sturdy defending against a dynamic attacking opponent, plus solid play from senior Brian Diaz.
"We were not expecting Brian to give us much tonight as he battles with a sore hip, but he surprised us all with 80 great minutes of soccer to help inspire our attack all night long," said Mustangs coach Brett Olson.
"The effort from the guys tonight was terrific. It's too bad we didn't show this type of effort last time out against Prospect, (but) if we go out and play like we did against such a great team from here on out, we'll be in very good shape."
After defending for much of the first half -- the visitors nearly stunned the Pirates with a late goal -- but then saw Ashby take a wonderful ball from Karol Noga and net the opener with a superb finish.
Okonski, who would command his box with confidence all throughout this contest, came off his line to win a 50-50 challenge with Khoury in the 46th minute. He then went airborne to punch a searing long throw from Mok a few minutes later.
Alex Ganji, the counterpart of Okonski for the Pirates, would enjoy a solid night of his own, taking a handful of free kicks out of the air in a crowd while making a sensational save on freshman Dash Lockley just before the hour.
Khoury would trick his way in close with speed, beating a pair of defenders to veer freely to his left before finishing with a brilliant final touch in the 60th minute.
"We had a very good start tonight, (created) some very good chances, then let up a little bit to give Rolling Meadows, which is a very talented team, the chance to get back into the game," said Pirates coach Aaron Morris.
"We did well when we needed to, and our back line did a very good job all throughout the game to earn ourselves another shutout."
Next up for the Pirates is the annual Kinsella Cup at crosstown rival Fremd at 5 p.m. Friday, while the Mustangs (6-6-2, 2-5-1, 7 points) are away at Wheeling on Thursday evening.