The third and final match of the group stage of this year’s tournament saw us facing the Titans of Boylan Catholic from Rockford. A win, tie or one goal loss would send us through to the tournament final, however a Boylan win by more than one goal would see them in the championship match. Despite all that, there was no doubt that we went into this game hoping and expecting to come out victorious.
Our hopes were given a blow in the 18th minute when a free kick for the Titans was well delivered to the far post of our goal, knocked down and poked into the net. Our guys were unable to win the initial header, and the Boylan player who won the aerial challenge was able to head it to directly to an awaiting teammate who quickly directed his shot past Bronco goalkeeper Brett Sprengel. Prior to this moment, our team had been a step slow and unable to find any rhythm or flow. After the goal, that would all change.
Over the next 60 minutes we increased our intensity and effort, which provided lots of opportunities as we played almost the entire match in the Boylan end of the field.
In the 75th minute, on another set piece (this one from midfield) our early season Achilles heel revealed itself again as we lost a duel in the air and saw the subsequent ball be won by our opponents. An opportunistic Boylan player headed the ball into the net and gave the Titans a 2-0 lead. A lead that if it held would put the Rockford team into the championship. It was a near crushing blow. Fortunately, our guys dug in and decided not to give up! Just two minutes later, Ethan Lew scored his first ever varsity goal and in doing so made the score 2-1 with only two minutes remaining. It was also a score line that would put us atop our group and into the title match Saturday night.
The final whistle sounded moments later, and we may have lost the match but fortunately we had also done just enough to get a result that was not a total loss. It’s rare to see a team lose, and still celebrate, however with the late drama in this match it did occur here.
BOYLAN — 18th minute
BOYLAN — 75th minute
BHS — Lew, Ethan (Klaus Pallan) — 78th minute