Boys Soccer: Lincoln-Way East tops Bloom for regional crown

Updated: October 20, 2012 3:43PM

Lincoln-Way East considers itself a defensive team, but the Griffins also have plenty of weapons when given a chance in the offensive zone.

That showed Saturday as Sean Sibley scored the go-ahead goal on a free kick and the Griffins twice found the back of the net off Austin Jenig throw-ins on their way to a 3-1 win over Bloom in a Class 3A Lincoln-Way East Regional final.

With the match tied at 1 with just under 14 minutes to go, Lincoln-Way East (15-2-6) was awarded a free kick just outside the box.

Bloom (19-4-1) set up its wall expecting right-footed Jim Ralph to take it, but left-footed Sibley surprised the defense by striking it and placing it perfectly off the bottom of the crossbar and in.

“We talked before and my teammates said ‘If you can take it, do it,’” Sibley said. “I just relaxed and hit it.”

The goal came on the Griffins’ fourth free kick from striking distance in a 10-minute span after Bloom tied it on Jorge Garcia’s goal with 24:18 to go.

“It’s tough because I don’t understand why they got so many free kicks,” Bloom coach Kelly Gutierrez said. “It felt like the ref took the match out of our hands. But Lincoln-Way East is a great team that deserved to win.”

Alan Hernandez scored off a Jenig throw-in with 4:48 to go to ice the game.

Lincoln-Way East’s first goal with 1:25 to go in the first half was headed home by Ralph, also off a Jenig throw.

“We’re good at set pieces and we proved that today,” Lincoln-Way East coach Ryan Decker said. “(Jenig’s) throws go to the middle of the box and they’re like corner kicks every time.”

After claiming their second straight regional title, the Griffins will meet host Lincoln-Way Central in a sectional semifinal Wednesday.

“We haven’t won back-to-back regionals since our coaches were playing,” Ralph said. “It’s unreal.”

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