Boys Soccer: Libertyville tops Round Lake for North Suburban title

Story Image Libertyville 10/10/12
North Suburban Conference championship game Libertyville's Liam O'Connell (1) | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
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The Lake Division kept its sheet clean in North Suburban Conference Championship Games as Libertyville handled NSC Prairie Division winner Round Lake 3-1 on Thursday night.

The Lake is now 13-0 against the Prairie in Championship Games.

Libertyville (14-2-1) got goals from Ryan McKenzie (off Tanner Sanks corner in the 19th minute), freshman Liam O’Connell (39th) and Connor McNeir (from freshman Nathan Edmund’s corner in the 72nd) to easily offset a lone tally by Round Lake’s Mauricio Salgado with five minutes left to play.

Libertyville won despite missing its best player. Austin Bitta was tossed — red-carded — for intentionally punching the ball into the goal in a Monday win, which meant he had to sit one game.

It didn’t matter.

“We did the same thing we did against Warren (another quality foe Libertyville beat). We played defensive-minded and tried to counter with our speed. We also got some great corners. We played well, we executed our strategy, and we looked good.”

Two of the goals came on set plays from corners.

“We started talking about a conference championship during summer camp and into tryouts,” McKenzie said. “This is one of the things we’ve been working toward.

“The next big thing is a state championship, which we’ve been talking about as well.”

On the other side, Round Lake (16-3-1) had its 14-game unbeaten streak snapped.

“Libertyville is good. They always have good teams. We tried to play too much like them tonight,” Panthers coach Hugo Tellez said.

“We got out of our game. The second half, they played more defensively. Toward the end, we threw three forwards out there, but we couldn’t crack their ‘D.”

Next up for both teams is IHSA regional play.

Round Lake plays Zion-Benton on Tuesday night in the Warren Regional.

Libertyville plays host Elk Grove on Tuesday afternoon in its regional semifinal.

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