Boys Soccer: Late penalty kick gives Larkin tie against Elgin

Updated: September 25, 2012 9:21PM

It’s not like Elgin and Larkin need anything to fuel their rivalry in soccer — or any other sport for that matter — but they got it Tuesday at Memorial Field when the teams battled to a 2-2 draw.

Larkin scored the match-tying goal on a penalty kick by Tony Hernandez with 6:31 remaining, after Erik Rodriguez was fouled in the box by Elgin keeper Flavio Jaimez. Then Maroons coach Dave Borg got yellow-carded, before receiving a red-card disqualification for continuing to argue the call.

All of this occurred in the shadow of Elgin forfeiting a handful of matches, including an Upstate Eight River victory over St. Charles North, because “Larkin reported us for supposedly having a fifth-year senior,” Borg said.

Rodriguez had taken a pass and had a one-on-one situation with Jaimez before the foul call.

“It was a terrible call,” Borg said. “Anybody who knows anything about soccer knows the goalie can protect himself if he’s going after the ball. They took it away from us and that’s bad for the kids.

“We outplayed them. We clearly outplayed them. The Erik Rodriguez Show didn’t happen tonight. The Larkin aura, the lore of all it, you know, they get all the press. Heck, we had nothing to lose; we’re 3-10. ... My only argument with tonight: Larkin played a great game, we played a great game, it should have been decided without a penalty kick. That’s wrong — a questionable one at that.”

Larkin coach Ken Hall, whose team remained unbeaten in the UEC River at 4-0-1 while improving to 10-4-1 overall, came away happy with a tie but wanting more.

“Any time you play against Elgin, it’s a battle,” he said. “If we’re 15-0 and they’re 0-15, and vice versa, it’s a battle.

“We generally get down all the time this time of year and come back — we haven’t been sharp the last four or five games. We’ve seemed a little down and we’ve got to recapture what we had early in the season.”

Hall wasn’t sure if officials made the right call because his view was blocked on the play.

“He (Rodriguez) had spike marks in his knee so the keeper obviously hit him,” Hall said.

Senior Antonio Escamilla had scored both Elgin goals, while Rodriguez had Larkin’s first goal. Then came the foul with Larkin in getting desperate.

Hernandez scored for the sixth time this season but for the first time on a penalty kick.

There was no special strategy involved on his PK.

“I try not to listen to the crowd,” he said. “They tend to get into everything you do. I just focus, look at the ball, look at the goalie. And it’s me and the goalie. I just keep everyone else out.”

He gave a slight fake to get Jaimez moving left, then rolled one into the right corner of the net.

“I told my teammates we’ve got to take things serious from the beginning,” Hernandez said. “They were messing around when we were doing warm-ups. It cost us because we almost lost. We know we have more talent than them, but they worked harder and this time they almost got it.”

Elgin’s Borg said the Maroons (3-10, 1-3-1) have gotten tougher by rallying around each other since the forfeit loss ruling came down.

“We still can have a good season,” Borg said. “If someone is foolish enough to put us — because our seeding says 3-10 — if they want to give us a 20th seed, we’ll play the first seed, no problem. I’d hate to be that first seed, though because they’re going to think they’ve got some patsy.”

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