Boys soccer: Elgin, Round Lake advance to sectional final
Getting out to a fast start proved to be a good omen for top-seeded Elgin Tuesday night at the Class 3A Round Lake boys soccer sectional semifinals against No. 4 Huntley.
Senior forward Eduardo Nava's shot from about 25 yards out deflected off a Red Raiders defender and past Huntley goalkeeper Jeremiah Reynolds for a 1-0 lead 11 minutes into the contest.
From there, Nava recorded a natural hat trick with 3 goals in a row as the Maroons (15-3-3) posted a convincing 4-1 victory over Huntley (16-6-1) to advance to the sectional finals Friday at 6 p.m. against No. 6-seeded host Round Lake.
It looked like the game was headed into halftime with the same 1-0 score. But Elgin's offense struck again just 1:28 before the intermission. This time, Nava took a ground ball pass from captain Aaron Saldana off a corner kick and booted home a close-range goal for a 2-0 lead at the half.
"You need a team effort. You can't do it all by yourself so I thank my teammates a lot," said Nava, who recorded his 11th hat trick of the season. "Starting the game (Friday against Round Lake) we're going to go full speed like we did this game. And every game we come out we come out even stronger."
Nava's third goal came on a penalty kick with 26:33 to play to boost the lead to 3-0.
Then with 17:27 remaining, senior Hudson Neilsen booted home a penalty shot past Elgin reserve goalie David Castaneda to cut the gap to 4-1. Carlos Benitez started in goal for the Maroons before exiting the game in the second half.
"That guy (Nava) is a goal-scorer. He's had a great season and he knows how to put the ball in the net," said Huntley coach Matt Lewandowski. "It was tough with a 20 mile an hour wind to start the game, and we couldn't get anything going."
Elgin's Alberto Gayten put the finishing touches on the win on a goal with 3:57 to go to account for the final score.
"The defense did very well. We shut him (Nielsen) down, and we were trying to limit how much time and space he had on the ball," said Elgin coach Jimmy Romano. "He (Nava) is a brilliant player. If you give him a little space he's going to find the back of the net."
Round Lake 1, Streamwood 0:
After defeating No. 3 Larkin for the regional championship, No. 6-seeded host Round Lake was hoping to pull off another upset when it faced No. 2 Streamwood in the boys soccer sectional semifinals Tuesday night.
And while there were some nervous moments throughout the contest, the Panthers worked their magic again with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Sabres in a defensive struggle.
With the win, Round Lake (16-5-1) advances to the sectional title game Friday against No. 1 Elgin at 6 p.m. while Streamwood closed its season with a 15-5-4 record.
The Sabres almost got on the scoreboard about 17 minutes into the game, but freshman goalie Gio Ayala came up with a big save on Max Galvan's strong shot on goal to preserve the scoreless deadlock.
The relentless Panthers came out aggressively in the second half and that paid off when junior Alex Corona's shot 4:09 into the half deflected off a Sabres defender and past goalie Issac Morales for a 1-0 lead.
Despite numerous solid scoring opportunities for both teams the rest of the way, that proved to be the game-winning goal as Ayala recorded a shutout with some big saves down the stretch.
"We just keep on moving really. I just take this game like any other game and I've got to stay composed and get ready for the next game," said Ayala. "I'm looking forward to that game more than this one so we just keep on moving forward and keep pushing."
Streamwood's best chances to tie the game came on a free kick by Jairo Sanchez early in the second half, a shot by Sergio Barrera that came close to the left post, and a shot on goal by A.J. Sabanovic with 21:15 left.
"Number 11 (Oscar Martinez) is a fantastic player for them," said Streamwood coach Matt Polovin. "Their goalie was standing on his head, and we just couldn't get the goals in."
Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez is optimistic that his team can pull off yet another upset on Friday.
"We adjusted in the second half and we got a goal," Tellez said. "A lot of teams doubted us after losing our all-state goalie last year. We just have to get Jorgie (Morales) and Oscar (Martinez) back into their rhythm and get their goals."