Boys Soccer: Naperville Central edges Fremd on penalties
Updated: November 4, 2011 9:22PM
Mike Pavliga was philosophical about his own heroics. “It’s sad the game had to come down to penalty kicks,” the junior Naperville Central keeper said.
Called on after the game was undecided after regulation and four overtimes, Pavliga was the difference maker. He punched the Redhawks’ ticket to their first state championship appearance since 1988.
Pavliga recorded three spectacular saves in the penalty kick phase that tipped the balance in the Redhawks favor as Naperville Central outlasted Fremd 4-3 Class 3A state semifinal victory Friday night at Lincoln-Way North.
Naperville Central (19-4) won the penalty kick 3-1.
The Redhawks advance to Saturday evening’s 3A championship against the winner of Morton and Warren.
Fremd’s Brian Hindle, who scored two goals in regulation, was the first shooter up and he drilled one in the left corner. After Jay Tegge answered for the Redhawks, Pavliga stopped in successions shots by the Vikings’ Jeremy Kosacz, Eric Leonard and Yusuke Kanada.
By contrast, the Redhawks made all three attempts. Mike West and Adam Hamielec both found the right corner inside.
On the second and third shooters, Pavliga dove right and blocked their shots. With Fremd needing a goal to stay alive, Pavliga broke left and made the perfect read on Kanada’s effort.
“You can tell by the angle they approach the ball, the side they line up where they’re going to typically going to go with the ball,” Pavliga said. “I’ve stored a lot of that information.
“Once I make my guess I usually go with it very hard,” he said.
The penalty kicks followed a furious second half that saw the teams combine for four goals in a 4:37 second stretch after Hamielec’s unassisted score gave the Redhawks the 1-0 advantage at the break.
After Hindle’s score evened the count at 1-all at the 49th minute, the teams battled for 20 scoreless minutes. Then the deluge broke.
“After they got that first goal, it kind of rattled us a little bit and they got more confident,” Hamielec said.
Hamielec made a beautiful left footed cross that Conner Allen controlled in stride for the 2-1 Redhawks’ lead. Kosacz responded immediately on a perfect feed from Spencer James that forged a tie at 2-apiece.
Hindle appeared the hero after his penalty kick, after he was tackled in the box, put the Vikings (16-6-2) up 3-2 with just over six minutes remaining. Just 24 seconds later, Tegge forged the game’s final tie.
“This is great,” Hamielec said of qualifying for the state title game. “At the beginning of the year nobody expected anything from us, people expected us to lose to Wheaton Warrenville South in the regional final,” he said.
Fremd keeper Colton Caesius was magnificent in defeat. He made three spectacular diving stops in the overtime sessions for the Vikings. Fremd must regroup for the third-place game. Caesius and Pavliga were both credited with six saves.
“Give Naperville Central credit,” Fremd coach Steve Keller said. “Their kids made the shots.”