Boys Soccer: OT win sends Sandburg to state

Updated: October 30, 2012 10:29PM

A dominant effort doesn’t always pay off with a win in soccer, and Sandburg saw regulation end with its season in jeopardy despite controlling Tuesday night’s Class 3A Illinois Benedictine Supersectional.

With one brilliant play, though, the Eagles made sure they’d be rewarded for their dominance.

Kevin Kroll headed home Zack Biel’s cross in overtime and Sandburg held on to punch its ticket to state with a 2-1 win over Fenwick.

“Zack was dominating the whole game,” Kroll said. “He crossed it in and I made a diagonal run. I knew to head it down because their goalie was big and didn’t get down fast.”

The Eagles (18-5-3) earned their first trip to state since 2005 and clinched their first state trophy since 2002. They will meet Warren at 5 p.m. Friday in a state semifinal.

Kroll’s goal was the byproduct of a strategy often preached by Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume, to get the ball wide then cross it in. Ronnie Merjan hit Biel on the wing to set up the cross.

“That’s (Vuillaume’s) game plan to get it wide,” Kroll said. “It pays off.”

After the goal with 2:09 left in the first overtime period, Sandburg still had to hold on for more than 12 minutes, but Fenwick (16-7-1) never seriously threatened.

Sandburg put four shots on goal in the first half, but goalie Jacob Peterson (seven saves) kept it scoreless until Biel took a pass from Joe Longhi, raced down the sideline and scored with 24:11 left in the match.

“We had a counterattack and Joe played a great ball,” Biel said. “I didn’t have an angle, but I took the shot and it slowly trickled in.”

Fenwick tied it on Michael Nowicki’s goal with 18:31 to go — on the Friars’ first shot on goal of the match — but Sandburg would not be denied.

“We knew (Fenwick) was on a great run, but we just came out and shut them down,” Kroll said. “It feels amazing.”

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