Late goal sinks Metea ValleyBenet midfielder Sam Knapke (right) and Metea midfielder Dakota Rowsey battle for possession at Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., on Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 29, 2011 6:50PM
For 79 minutes, the Benet boys soccer team looked like they were ready to walk off a wet field with nothing measurable to gain from a subpar game against visiting Metea Valley.
Then with one minute left, Redwings’ midfielder Joey Chiariello finally got a ball in the goal and changed the team’s outlook, lifting Benet to a 1-0 non-conference victory Monday evening.
“Not one of our better games, obviously,” Redwings coach Sean Wesley said. “I thought Metea did a good job defensively. They pretty much cut out every pass. We never had time on the ball. They probably outplayed us for the majority of the match.”
Playing against a strong wind in the first half, Benet (8-3-1) struggled to create scoring chances.
After halftime, the Mustangs (5-5-3) found themselves left to defend against a barrage of late shots, especially too many off set pieces in the last five minutes.
It proved to be Metea’s undoing when Benet senior Hunter Miller’s line drive corner got knocked around the front of goal and Chiariello was there to kick home a 2-foot shot in a crowd of players.
“Third time it’s happened this year. Third time it’s happened in the last minute,” Metea coach Josh Robinson said. “It’s a lack of focus. Someone needs to be a senior and lead. We played great soccer today and it’s the third time we’ve had nothing to show for it because we lost focus on corners. I think they relax when they should be more focused and it’s unfortunate.”
Derek Carothers played a strong game in goal for Metea, recording eight saves, including a really nice punch save that somewhat unfortunately led directly to Miller’s final corner.
Chiariello was in the right spot at the right time and Carothers could do nothing to stop the game-winner. It was the junior’s first goal of the year.
“The corner went right to me, but kind of went past me,” Chiariello said, describing the chaotic ending. “Pat (Nemetz) and I went after it and two of their players went after it and it just ricocheted right to me and I tapped it in.”
Sometimes soccer is cruel to the team that played better, although “better” might just be the team that capitalizes when the opportunity finally presents itself — something Metea failed to do when they did have a sliver of an opening.
“We could have finished a few. We had chances,” Chiariello said. “Everyone played really hard, and this was a very big win for us against Metea. They’re a very good team and in our sectional. It was very good for our seeding.”