Boys soccer: Conant advances to Barrington tournament final
Conant will play in the Barrington Classic tournament final Saturday night after sweeping aside host Streamwood, 6-0, Thursday afternoon at Millennium Field in Streamwood in the pool play finale for both clubs.
The Cougars (4-0-1) will play either Barrington or Boylan at 6 p.m. at Barrington Community Stadium.
"It's been quite a turnaround for us compared to last season," said Conant coach Jason Franco, whose club went 2-16-1 last fall, scoring just 19 goals while finishing near the bottom of the MSL table.
"Everyone made a strong commitment to getting better during the offseason. And with the addition of Krystian (Niziolek), we can now play an attacking style using all of the talent we have," added senior Carson Belcher, who doubled the Cougars' advantage to 2-0 with his team-high seventh goal just before the half-hour.
The Cougars turned up the pressure on the Sabres (1-2-2) right from the opening whistle playing through the aforementioned Belcher and Niziolek as well as Peter Cirbo, Carson Hagler, Frank Mari and Kanau Takahasti. They were the pace setters in a Cougars attack which has already bagged 22 on the season.
Niziolek, back from club soccer this fall, scored the first of his three on the day after quickly played diagonal passes from Sai Patel and Takahashi. That would pry open the Sabres in its own end in the 21st minute.
Mari, whom Franco would praise afterward, provided the helper on Belcher's goal in the 28th minute. That was followed by another from the sophomore Niziolek before Patel made it 4-0 just before the intermission.
"First, and foremost, we have to get healthy. Then our decision-making and speed of play and possession must be better. (But) like I told the guys, let's get all of this stuff out of the way early on and get ourselves ready for the regular season," said Streamwood coach Matt Polovan, who was without his first class central defender Marcos Gutierrez, who is day-to-day.
Polovan's club will await its final opponent of the tournament after a handful of games are completed.
Franco would begin to bring his reserves on after Niziolek made it 5-0 with Belcher and Mari creating the opportunity for their teammate in the 49th minute.
Freshman Gabe Dobrincu added one last goal to the score line when he converted his PK effort in the 54th minute.
Senior Varun Mittal recorded the shutout for the Cougars.