Boys Soccer: Lincoln-Way Central, Joliet Central battle to 1-1 drawJoliet Central's Angel Torres (2) and Lincoln Way Central's Alivin Landaverde (10) battle for the ball at Joliet Central High School in Joliet, Illinois, Monday, Oct. 01, 2012. | Michael DiNovo~For the Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 9:23PM
Joliet Central struck early Monday night and had plenty of opportunities to put Lincoln-Way Central away.
Lincoln-Way Central goalie Mike Dybala would not let that happen.
After Eduardo Espinoza scored to give the Steelmen the lead less than five minutes in, Dybala stopped the remaining 11 shots at him, and C.J. Zuraitis’ late goal enabled the visiting Knights to escape with a 1-1 draw in the SouthWest Suburban crossover.
“We know when we come to Joliet Central that it’s going to be a tough game,” Dybala said. “They’re a pretty technical team. It was a good battle and a decent result, but we’ve got to get some wins from here on out.”
Lincoln-Way Central (8-6-2) was dominated most of the way as the Steelmen (7-6-1) held a 12-6 edge in shots on goal. It didn’t matter, however, after Nick Kowalkowski fed Zuraitis and the senior beat Aaron Serafin (five saves) with a high shot for the equalizer.
Dybala made a terrific stop on a point-blank shot from Jose Ortiz early in the second half, denied Angel Torres on a breakaway and leaped to poke an Espinoza strike over the crossbar.
“Their goalie played out of his mind,” Joliet Central coach Eduardo Contreras said. “He was the best goalie we’ve seen all year.
“We should have done a better job with the chances we had, though. We’ve got to put them away. Possessing the ball is not our problem, but we have to be better at finishing.”
The Steelmen took the early lead when Espinoza perfectly struck a free kick, tucking it inside the right post with 35:05 left in the first half.
“We’ve been carrying around this curse, and maybe I jinxed us before the match by saying I didn’t want to see us down 1-0 in the first five minutes again,” Lincoln-Way Central coach Sean Fahey said. “Sure enough, it happened. I was proud of the way we fought back to get a tie.”