Lisle advances to state finals
Updated: October 28, 2011 8:18PM
Despite coming up empty early in the first half, Lisle coach Kevin Perez was confident his team would strike first at the IHSA Class 1A boys soccer semifinal Friday night.
The first-year coach was right, and the Lions’ first goal with 14:35 left until halftime was all they needed in a 1-0 win over Warrensburg-Latham at the Corn Crib in Normal, sending Lisle (20-5) to its second-straight title game appearance.
“We attacked hard from the beginning,” Perez said. “It was just a matter of time before we got the right shot. We figured if we scored first they would get into panic mode, and when you do that you don’t play your best soccer.”
After controlling most of the early action, Lisle found the back of the net on a Kyle Hendzel goal to put the Lions up for good.
The 5-foot-6 sophomore flew across the box to connect on a Cole Collins cross, and Hendzel gave all of the credit to his teammate.
“Cole Collins played an amazing ball right to my foot,” Hendzel said. “I just placed it right in the corner, and it felt amazing. After we scored that first goal I knew we were going to hold them off.”
The Lions avoided multiple Warrensburg (21-4-1) scoring threats in the final five minutes of action thanks to two late saves by goalkeeper Kazim Khan.
“They had us on our heels a few times, but our keeper made great saves and our defense stepped up,” Perez said. “We came out with the victory, which is the best part.”
Lisle returned 10 of its 11 starters from last season’s state-championship team, and according to Perez, it is state title or bust for the Lions.
“We’re back in the state championship tomorrow, so we have more business to take care of,” Perez said. “When we started the season back in August we talked about our goal of going back to state. It’s awesome seeing them grow like that.”
The Lions will face the winner of Friday’s other semifinal matchup between Parker and Quincy Notre Dame in the state title game on Saturday. Action will begin at 7 p.m. at the Corn Crib in Normal.