Boys Soccer: Lincoln-Way East edges SandburgLincoln-Way East's Sean Sibley (2) and Sandburg's Mike Gentile (21) stay focused in the rain Thursday night in Frankfort. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 4, 2012 9:15PM
After a surprising run to a sectional title last season, Lincoln-Way East set its sights on improving its regular season this year, with hopes for the program’s first SouthWest Suburban Blue title.
Thursday, the Griffins took a huge step towards making history with a 2-1 Blue win over Sandburg in Frankfort.
“The guys haven’t been this happy in a long time,” East coach Ryan Decker said. “I don’t think we’ve beaten Sandburg since some of our coaches were playing.”
The Griffins (11-2-5, 4-0) can win the league outright with victories over Lockport and Bolingbrook next week.
The game-winner came with 14:50 left when Michael Roth crushed a free kick on goal from 55 yards out. Sandburg keeper Adam Zehme got his hands on it but, on a wet night, it slipped through.
“I’ll take it,” Roth said. “A goal’s a goal and it feels great beating Sandburg. It’s great to be close to making school history, but it’s not over yet.”
Sandburg (12-5-2, 3-1) nearly drew even two minutes later when Kevin Kroll’s shot went just wide, but never really threatened again.
There was little action in a first half that was played in a downpour, but East broke through in the 39th minute when Alan Hernandez beat a defender to a long pass and scored.
“I saw the defender moving forward so I made a run towards the middle and came up with it,” Hernandez said.
The Eagles tied it 12 minutes into the second half when Joe Longhi made a run down the sideline on a counter, got around Sean McGovern (three saves) when he came out for the ball, and scored into an open net.
But it wasn’t enough for Sandburg, which needs help in its quest for its third straight Blue title.
“We got off to a slow start and (East) played a great game,’ Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume said. “It’s tough, but conference isn’t our goal. Winning in the postseason is.”