LT falls just shy of return trip to state
Updated: March 22, 2011 5:10PM
Senior Peter Kralovec-Kirchherr had a moment Tuesday
where he really thought Lyons Township was a team of destiny.
Coming off a
stunning come-from-behind sectional final win over Morton Saturday, LT
looked poised for another comeback for the ages Friday in the Class 3A
Hinsdale Central Super-sectional.
The Lions scored with 21 seconds
remaining in regulation to even the score at 1-1 only to see Naperville
North score 46 seconds into the second overtime period for a thrilling 2-1
victory over the defending state champions.
"We feel horrible about the
loss," Kralovec-Kirchherr said. "I really thought we had to win this because
why else do we score with 21 seconds left? We've had great comebacks and I
really thought we would do it again. I guess it didn't turn out that way.
It's an awful feeling. It's one of the worse feelings you can have."
senior Austin Wolff, whose first goal of the season Friday tied the game in
the Lions' 2-1 win over Morton, struck again Tuesday.
He was on the
receiving end of a throw-in from Kralovec-Kirchherr and knocked the ball
into the back of the net with just 21 seconds left to set off a wild
celebration by the Lions.
LT (22-2-2) then had the better of play in the
first 10-minute overtime period but wasn't able to score the
Naperville North junior Max Auden then took a free kick and
beat LT senior goalkeeper Kevin Beglen, who had come up big all game for the
Lions, to send the Huskies (21-2-2) to the state semifinals where they will
take on Libertyville Friday.
"It's tough," LT coach Paul Labbato said.
"Only one team gets to win it all and the rest of the teams are laying on
the ground (dealing with a loss). It's hard to see because they had
aspirations of winning it all. We've won a lot of games just like
LT had to play the game without all-state forward Horacio Sanchez,
who was given a red card in Friday's victory.
Sanchez was the team's
leading goal scorer this season and scored the game-winning goal in last
year's state championship contest.
"I can't even imagine what's going
through his head right now," Kralovec-Kirchherr said. "To not be able to
play his last game of high school soccer ever as a senior has to just be an
absolute horrendous feeling. I feel horrible for him. We all wanted to win
this so bad for him. We gave it our all and it just didn't turn out that
Neither team scored in the first half and LT battled back from a
pair of one-goal deficits in the second half.
Naperville North led 1-0 on
a goal by Jimmy Butler 5:35 into the second half, but LT senior Kyle
Kurfirst scored off a throw-in from Kralovec-Kirchherr with 24:54
The Huskies needed just over a minute to regain the lead on a
goal by Evan Trychta that made the score 2-1.
Beglen gave the Lions a
chance for the dramatic finish thanks to a diving save with 18:20 that set
the stage for the exciting finish.
"This was an amazing soccer career for
me," Kralovec-Kirchherr said. "To be able to be on a team so special as this
was great. Winning state and then getting to the final eight is so special.
I'm so grateful to be a part of it."
LT will graduate a talented senior
class, including starters Beglen, Sanchez, Alex Economou, David Ellis,
Taylor Halamka, Kurfirst, Kralovec-Kirchherr and Peter Gabrek, along with
Wolf, Jeremiah Enright, Sean Davy, Pedro Fulgencio and Cooper Heinz.
group of seniors did a really nice job of leading," Labbato said. "They're
born leaders and were able to do that for us. We expect the juniors on this
team to do that for us next year. Hopefully they can learn from this season
and carry it on next season."