Playing three games in a 42-hour span is taxing on any soccer team.
That’s especially true when two of the matches are the biggest of the regular season.
The Lyons Township High School boys soccer team enjoyed an easy 4-0 win over Proviso West on Friday but then had to face two of their biggest rivals on back-to-back days.
The Lions lost the first one Saturday afternoon when Hinsdale Central edged them 1-0 in at Dickinson Field in Hinsdale in the annual Silver Brick game.
The host Red Devils (9-3-2, 4-0 West Suburban Silver) thus retained the Brick for the third straight year and now have the inside track to the conference championship. They snapped the Lions’ eight-game winning streak in the process.
“It’s tough,” LTHS coach Paul Labbato said. “It comes down to a set piece.
“I can’t tell you how many times it comes down to a set piece with Hinsdale Central. I can probably name three games in recent history that have come down to something similar to that.”
The Lions outshot the Red Devils 18-8 but Jack Baderman scored the only goal on a brilliant 23-yard free kick with 25:30 left in the second half. The senior shot the ball over a five-man wall and off the underside of the crossbar.
Other than a partial breakaway which LTHS goalie Donald Darrus snuffed out, that was the only really dangerous chance the Red Devils had.
LTHS (13-4, 3-1) controlled the midfield for long stretches, with Harry Hilling and Patrick Duncan creating plenty of havoc, but it all went for naught. Hinsdale Central goalie Wes Bergevin made six saves to record his ninth shutout and got some help from his woodwork when the Lions’ John Mazur fired a 12-yard shot that hit the crossbar. Daniel Gutierrez then headed the rebound over the bar with 9:10 to go and Bergevin later made a kick save on an open shot from Cole Gilchrist.
“All the returning seniors, including myself, we all thought this game was really big,” Hilling said. “We hadn’t won a Silver Brick before. The last time LT won the Silver Brick, myself and the other seniors were freshmen, so it hasn’t been back at LT for a while, so this was a big one. We circled this on our calendar. Now we look forward to the Pepsi.”
The Lions lost to another rival, Morton, 3-2 on penalty kicks in the PepsiCo Showdown championship game Sunday morning at DePaul University. Jorge Mercado, Leo Delgado, Mario Romero and Rafael Herrera each scored during the penalty phase which Morton won 4-2. All-State goalkeeper Ian Chacon also played well for Morton (14-1-2).
Patrick Duncan and Gutierrez each scored a goal for LTHS. Morton outshot LTHS 17-16 for the game.
It was the Lions’ fourth appearance in the title game of the prestigious event in the past six seasons. Two years ago, the Lions won the PepsiCo title for the first time by beating Morton in the final the day after losing to Hinsdale Central in Hinsdale.
Even if LTHS does not win the conference, the Lions might get a chance to avenge the loss to Hinsdale Central. The two teams could meet again in the LT Sectional and know that little separates them.
“Let’s not kid ourselves,” Hinsdale Central coach Mike Wiggins. “LT is very, very good. We know that it’s not over and we know there’s another chance to play them. We’re thankful that we got the Silver Brick and that’s a tribute to our guys.”