Herrera takes over for Maine West
Updated: September 22, 2011 10:06PM
Nelson Herrera is a year older and definitely wiser.
“Last year I was new to [varsity] soccer, but now I’m older and more experienced and I’m learning how to finish,” the sophomore Maine West midfielder said.
In a showdown of the top two teams in the Central Suburban North, Herrera scored three goals to power host Maine West past No. 7 Deerfield 6-2 Thursday night in Des Plaines. “Nelson showed tonight why he’s the best sophomore in the state and one of the top seven players,” Maine West coach Mark Divincenzo said.
“He should have scored 20 goals last year but he had seven goals and five assists,” Divincenzo said. “Now he has 17 goals and four assists. He’s doing a much better job of finishing his opportunities.”
Sophomore forward Alex Herrera (no relation to Nelson) added two goals for Maine West (10-3-1, 4-0). “I’ve been knowing Nelson since sixth grade, but this is really our first time playing together because I didn’t play for Maine West last year,” Alex Herrera said.
Alex Herrera and junior midfielder Xavier Gomes scored a goal apiece to stake Maine West to a 2-0 lead at the break. “The kids did a great job of executing the game plan,” Divincenzo said. “We knew the team that won would have a guarantee of at least a tie for the conference, so they were really ready to play,” he said.
By contrast, Deerfield coach Elliott Hurtig was mystified at his team’s sluggish play. “We just were very lackadaisical out there, especially on defense,” he said. “For the first 12 or 15 minutes, we were not ready to play.”
Deerfield star forward Joey Calistri narrowed the deficit to 2-1 just a minute into the second half when he scored on a penalty kick after he was fouled in the box. Nelson Herrera answered about five minutes later by nailing a free kick from about 30 yards that curled into the near post.
“I thought we came out a little too easy at the start of the second half with the lead, but fortunately we got it back,” Nelson Herrera said. Alex Herrera scored on a beautiful unassisted goal minutes later for the 4-1 advantage.
Calistri scored another goal off a penalty kick at the 16th minute mark of the second half. Nelson Herrera punctuated the impressive victory by scoring twice over a three-minute span.
“Deerfield has a great team, and for us to beat the No. 7 team in the state the way we did tonight says a lot about how good we can be,” Alex Herrera said.