Boys soccer: Glenbrook North's last-minute goal stuns Palatine in sectional final
It was a sectional final between two of the best of the best in the area.
Glenbrook North and Palatine, the top two seeds in the Fremd sectional, got together Friday night at Hildebrandt Field in Palatine.S
For all of the close matches played thus far in the postseason, this one ended in a dramatic, heart-stopping finish when Ian Lee found a way to squeeze his back post effort into the back of the Pirates net in the 80th minute to give the Spartans a 2-1 victory.
The win sends the Spartans (20-3-2) into the Class 3A Barrington supersectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday when it will face Elgin (16-3-3). The Maroons beat Round Lake 2-0 in its sectional final Friday.
"We just could not find our game tonight," said a dejected Pirates coach Aaron Morris, after his club dropped its first game of a sensational season in which his men won a MSL and regional championship en route to a sparkling 20-1-3 overall record.
"(They) had a lot of the play in the midfield tonight, while we struggled to keep possession and stay organized - which a highly skilled team like Glenbrook North will take advantage of," continued Morris.
Despite its early struggles, the Pirates were first to score when Sebastian Lopez got on the end of a long free kick from Jordan Mok and found a way to go past keeper Gil Meyers in a sea of green and white shirts.
The Spartans would begin to find their dynamic midfield duo of Steven Rhee and Ian Lee. And while the Pirates back line, led by Andrew Kania, remained rigid, it appeared Glenbrook North would soon find the equalizer before the intermission.
Pirates senior scoring star Sebastian Khoury nearly doubled the advantage when he grazed the bar, just before Jack Armstrong saw his close-range shot saved by Pirates keeper Charlie Rebollar.
"This team has been resilient all year long. It is a real strength of these young men, so we all knew at the half if we continued to fight, and keep our focus, good things would come our way," said Glenbrook North coach Paul Vignocchi, whose program last advanced to a supersectional in 2012.
Lee would draw his club level in the 55th minute when he rebounded his own shot the opposite way of Rebollar with a sublime angled finish.
The Palatine faithful thought a Jordan Mok free kick in the 76th minute found its way over the end line. However the referee, and his assistant, thought otherwise.
Chase Anderson, the Spartans' long-throw extraordinaire, tossed four into the Pirates box during the final eight minutes before time, with his final throw the one that dashed the hopes of Palatine.
"Chase is just another weapon in our attack. And somehow (his) throw to the back post was missed by nearly everyone. Maybe it went off someone on the way in and fell to me, and I just put it into the back of the net," said Lee, who now has six postseason goals.
"We had a tremendous season. And one, when the guys look back, was just an amazing and memorable year for the Palatine soccer program," said Aaron Morris.