Left was right for Lincoln-Way West junior midfielder Ian McGrath.
A natural right-footer, McGrath scored two first-half goals, both with his left foot, as Lincoln-Way West blanked Peotone 2-0 Saturday in the title game of the Lincoln-Way West Regional. The Warriors (14-8-3), whose only previous regional title came in 2010, will host a sectional where they will meet (Chicago) Washington at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the second semifinal.
Peotone (16-7-1) was bidding for its fourth straight regional title in its first year in Class 2A. The Blue Devils won 1A regionals previously, but on this occasion, never were able to pressure the Lincoln-Way West goalkeeper — junior Anthony Prospero in the first half, senior Mason McGowan in the second.
“The boys came out with a mindset,” Lincoln-Way West coach Jeff Theiss said. “They scored early and maintained their composure later. I give a lot of credit to our back line (seniors Dylan Thompson and Mike Wyskiel and junior Paul Miller).”
Senior midfielder Ryan Curry assisted on both McGrath goals, the first when Peotone goalkeeper Zach Lumb appeared to make the save with two hands. But he didn’t catch the ball and it dropped behind him for the goal.
“The first goal was unfortunate, the second was a good one,” Peotone coach Jordan Haug said. “They found their good kid (McGrath). He’s real tough.”
“Ryan (Curry) did a great job setting me up,” said McGrath, who earlier had a two-goal game against Lincoln-Way Central. “I hit the first one pretty nicely with my left foot, and the keeper couldn’t handle it. The second one I got close (to the net), saw the keeper come out and just had to loop it over him.”
“Ian (McGrath) is smooth with the ball, and he uses his other players very well,” Theiss said. “I like Ryan (Curry) getting involved in the attack, too. That helps if our outside mids get involved.”