Libertyville’s OT goal nets titleLibertyville High School and Lyons Township High School play in the championship game of the Pepsi Showdown boys soccer tournament Sunday September 18, 2011 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview. Libertyville players celebrate their 2-1 victory over Lyons as Adam Witucki (12) scores the deciding goal in overtime. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: September 13, 2012 7:05PM
Adam Witucki knows how crucial it is to take advantage of any scoring opportunity that comes his way. A second chance is rarely guaranteed.
The Libertyville senior defender scored his first goal of the year with 1:05 left in overtime to power the No. 2 Wildcats past No. 4 Lyons 2-1 in the championship game of the Pepsi Showdown on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park in Bridgeview.
Witucki saw teammate Austin Bitta create a scoring chance by splitting two defenders. As the ball drifted to the left side, he drilled a short shot for the dramatic game-winner.
In the semifinals, the defending Class 3A state runner-up avenged its championship loss to Morton in last year’s final.
“I was just waiting there on the back post, and I saw Austin cut through, and I just moved down to the ball,” Witucki said.
Libertyville midfielder Marshall Hollingsworth was taken from the field moments earlier, and a Lyons player received a red card for the violent collision.
“I don’t go down easily,” Hollingsworth said. “I was taped up and ready to come in when we scored.”
Austin’s father, Libertyville coach Andy Bitta, made a key move in the 25th minute. Lyons (5-3-2) had dominated the opening flourish to control the early tempo until Bitta’s move.
“We’re normally a 4-3-3 team, but we made the change to a 4-4-2 because we had to get a back player into the middle because Lyons plays five in the middle, and we had to do something to advance the ball in the middle,” Andy Bitta said.
After the shift, the Wildcats (10-1) slowly exerted their control. They seized the 1-0 lead in the 30th minute on David Ruiz’s goal from a beautiful assist by Sam Kaplan.
Just seconds later, the Lions responded on Elliot Borge’s header.
“We weren’t sure if there would be another chance to score, but fortunately I was able to get a pretty easy scoring opportunity right in front of the net,” Borge said. “That gave us some momentum, and we got back into the game.’’
Despite not converting again in regulation, Libertyville maintained its control of possession and finally broke through in overtime.
“It was really the tale of two halves,” Lyons coach Paul Labbato said. “We did a good job early, but then Libertyville really started to control the ball, and we could not get the ball out of our end.”
In the two consolation games, Steve Golz scored on a header with nine seconds left to lead No. 8 Oak Park-River Forest (8-1-1) over Metea Valley 2-1. Wheaton Warrenville South edged East Aurora 2-1.