Griffins get revenge on Joliet WestJoliet West's Diego Alcantar attempts to pass the ball to a teammate against Lincoln-Way East.
Updated: March 22, 2011 5:20PM
It was payback time for Lincoln-Way East.
After losing a close match in the regular season, the Griffins turned the tables on Joliet West and came away with a 3-0 victory Tuesday evening in the Minooka Class 3A boys soccer regional semifinals.
East (11-11-2), has now won three straight and will play Joliet Central, a 2-0 winner over Lincoln-Way East for the title at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
"It was a great payback," said East senior midfielder Zoran Arsenovic, who scored two of the Griffin goals. "Now we have to prepare for Joliet Central."
When East played the West in a SouthWest Suburban Blue battle on Tuesday, October 5, the Tigers emerged with a 3-2 victory in double overtime.
But the Tigers (11-8-1) couldn't convert on two golden chances and were never able to dent the scoreboard.
Actually they appeared to convert on one chance, but it was waved off with 9:25 left in the first half. Senior forward DeAndre McLaurin raced in on East goalie Matt Gazdziak as senior defender A J D'Ortenzio stuck with him.
Gazdziak came out of the goal and McLaurin shook off D'Ortenzio, who fell to the ground. McLaurin knocked in the empty netter, but he was whistled for pushing off on D'Ortenzio despite the Tigers protest of incidental contact.
"It was a close call," D'Ortenzio said. "He (McLaurin) ran through me and I was on the ground. I was devastated when I saw it go in, but once I saw it waved off I was happy again."
The Tigers had another chance to be the first on the board just a minute into the second half when they were awarded a penalty kick. But senior midfielder Manny Mireles had his attempt clang off the left post.
"In a game you get so few opportunities so it obviously hurts to get them taken away," West coach Jeff Lundeen said. "We had that PK and and missing that was a momentum shift. Who knows what happens if it goes in, but East finished and we didn't."
The Griffins did finish as they came back and scored when freshman midfielder Alan Hernandez blasted a long drive into the upper right portion of the net for his first varsity goal.
Just over a minute later East scored again as Arsenovic took a textbook corner kick from the left side by junior midfielder Anthony Cetera and headed it home for a 2-0 lead with 32:21 left in the game.
"It was a great ball and I was there," Arsenovic said. "I had to put it in. I got that first one and it brought my confidence up."
Arsenovic added another tally as he scored from the right side on a crossing shot with 4:18 to play.
With the game out of hand, some tempers flared and there was pushing and shoving with just over 2:00 remaining. Numerous yellow cards were issued, but no red cards.
"We were trying to get back in the game and were frustrated," Lundeen said. "I think the guys were ready because we had played East earlier and won in overtime, but I'm sure a rematch with (Joliet) Central was on our minds."
But instead it will be East moving on. The Griffins defeated Joliet Central 5-2 in the teams SWSC Blue meeting on Wednesday, October 6.
"A J D'Ortenzio had the toughest job," East coach Brian Papa said. "He had to be on McLaurin all night and McLaurin is a big strong kid. Plus Jim Ralph has stepped up as a sophomore in place of (senior defender) Andrew Young and filled the void very well.
"We got a couple of breaks and after that we settled down and had great opportunities. Now we are in the regional title game and we'll see what happens, but this team is too good to be .500."