Fuentes leads Lane, Leyden advances
Updated: October 18, 2011 10:15PM
Sergio Fuentes had motive and opportunity. “I knew what I had to do and I did it,” the Lane sophomore midfielder said.
Fuentes scored a goal late in the first half and secured the Indians’ first state tournament victory in five years with an insurance goal in the closing minutes, sparking Lane to a 2-0 victory over Loyola in a Class 3A Leyden regional semifinal Tuesday night.
“I was motivated to win, especially a tournament game after what happened Saturday [in the city final where the Indians lost 1-0 to Mather],” Fuentes said.
Fuentes broke the scoreless tie with a blast into the right side of the Loyola net with 1:21 remaining in the first half for the Indians (14-9-1). With one play he snatched the momentum away from Loyola (11-11-2), who controlled the early possession time though could not solve the superb play of Indians’ keeper Zorohn Reed.
Reed recorded six saves for the Indians in posting his sixth shutout of the year. Fuentes’ goal was especially impressive because the Indians went against a ferocious wind in the first half.
Finding himself alone in front of an open net, Fuentes almost hesitated but was able to put just enough force on the ball to squeeze it into the right side of the net. “It took forever to get there,” he said.
The lead held up through the second half. Having the wind in the second half, Lane controlled the ball and forced Loyola to alter its strategy, especially in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Fuentes made it all academic when put the game out of reach with an electrifying 25-yard goal off a free kick with 1:56 to play. Standing on the right hash, he angled the ball perfectly into the near post. “That was a great goal, I just watched the ball,” he said.
“I just wanted to try something different, and it worked,” he said.
The Indians advance to Saturday’s regional final to face the host Eagles, who blanked St. Patrick 4-0.
Junior defender Juan Recendez scored two goals for Leyden (15-4-3). His first goal put the Eagles up 1-0 at the break. “We struggled a bit at the start getting that first goal, and I think we were all a little bit on edge, just because knowing this is the playoffs and you can’t afford to lose,” he said.
St. Patrick (5-15-2) actually appeared to score first, but a goal was negated by an offsides call. “We didn’t do a good job of finishing in the first half,” Leyden coach Mark Valintis said. “We had three breakaways in the first 20 minutes and we didn’t convert any of them.
“But once we got that first goal, we seemed to exhale a bit,” he said.
Leyden put the game away with three goals during a 17-minute second half stretch. David Nowicki scored in the eighth minute of the second half on a sharp blast that curled into the left corner.
Recendez scored his second goal on a header. Eagles’ star forward Krystian Drozdz lifted a short ball that hit off the top of the post. It ricochet off and Recendez hit a perfectly timed return. Pedro Dorado ended the scoring on a beautiful assist from Christian Hernandez.