New Trier wins lightning-shortened semi
Updated: October 25, 2011 10:44PM
New Trier’s improbable run in the Class 3A state soccer tournament took an even more improbable twist Tuesday night in the Trevian’s 1-0 win over Leyden in the semifinals of the Evanston Sectional.
Seeded 10th, New Trier (9-10-1) advanced to Saturday’s 6 p.m. sectional championship game against Maine East without playing the final 28 minutes, 24 seconds of the second half.
Tuesday night’s game was halted with 28:24 remaining because of lightning.
The spotting of lightning by officials requires a 30-minute delay, and that 30-minute period is started over each time lightning is spotted.
Evanston Athletic Director Chris Livatino said he called an Illinois High School Association administrator, who told him the game had to begin again by 10 p.m. or it should be called. When officials spotted more lightning around 9:40 p.m., requiring another 30-minute delay that would have pushed the re-start time to later than 10 p.m., the game was called, and New Trier was the winner over No.-2 seed Leyden (16-5-3).
‘‘It’s weird. I feel so bad for their seniors,’’ New Trier coach Craig Fairbairn said. ‘‘I don’t think I’ve been involved in something like this before.
Fairbairn said Leyden probably had the best of a scoreless first half.
‘‘I thought they might have had a better run of play in the first half,’’ he said. ‘‘We were a little jittery. We told our guys at halftime we had to win more balls in the middle of the field, and we did a better job of that when we came out in the second half.’’
The only goal of the game came 6:01 into the second half when Jeff Farina took a 35-yard pass from teammate Jack Cornelo and sent a shot past Leyden goalkeeper Marco Granda.
‘‘I made eye contact with [Cornelo] and put my hand up,’’ Farina said. ‘‘He played a real nice ball, and I saw their goalie come off his line.’’
Farina was happy with New Trier’s win, but said he believed the game should have been allowed to be completed.
‘‘That’s just not right,’’ he said. ‘‘Our defense was playing so well, I don’t think we would have given up a goal, but we should have finished the game.’’