Boys soccer: Grayslake Central punches return trip to state
Grayslake Central junior midfielder Mitchell Fein -- rhymes with "fine" -- had an exceptional match Tuesday night, scoring the first 2 goals in the Rams' 3-0 defeat of Niles Notre Dame in the Grayslake Central boys soccer supersectional.
The matchup was a rematch of the GC supersectional last fall, when Grayslake Central edged ND's Dons 1-0 to notch the program's first Final Four state berth in program history.
Fein provided the assist in that contest 364 days ago in frigid, rainy conditions.
"I'd been struggling, scoring goals," Fein, who'd entered the match having netted only 3 goals, admitted Tuesday night in mild, pleasant conditions at William C. Eiserman Stadium.
The first goal of Fein's brace came via a penalty kick in the 13th minute, following a hand ball in the box.
Fein's PK went one way (upper left); ND senior goalkeeper Luca Lobianco went flying the other way.
"We came out stronger against Notre Dame this year," said Rams coach Keith Andersson, whose 2021 edition finished fourth at state and whose current edition (18-1-3 overall, 9-0-2 in its last 11 contests) will face Glenwood in a 2A state semifinal Friday at 3 p.m. at Hoffman Estates.
"The PK there, we got lucky," he added. "But we continued to play hard and fast. We wanted constant urgency; our guys played with it. Everybody contributed tonight. Starters, subs ... everybody."
Fein struck again in the 61st minute, collecting a feed from freshman midfielder Ivan Sereno and mad-dashing for about 10 yards before poking a 10-yard, near-post shot past Lobianco (5 saves).
"I looked up after receiving the pass, because that's when I usually think, 'Cross.' But, tonight, I took it.
"I took the shot."
Rams sophomore forward Prince Trawick capped the night's scoring 8 minutes later, hammering a 40-yard cracker that entered the northwest corner of the goal and drew a thunderous roar from the home side's fans.
GC's leading scorer, senior co-captain Alan Alonso, dished the assist. "A-squared" was a legit threat each time the ball was anywhere near his feet, but he also displayed frighteningly good defensive acumen throughout the night after Halloween.
The Rams' sturdy back line -- Lucas Veenstra, Eric Garcia-Perez, Damian Sereno and Anderson Chevrier -- played fine, too, and made life manageable for winning goalkeeper Uriel Garcia Perez (2 saves).
GC's win Tuesday night marked its third straight on the home pitch; Andersson's club won twice last week to capture the second sectional championship in program history.
Junior midfielder Ian Martinez stood out for the Dons (16-6-1).
"Ian," ND assistant coach Mike Regal said, "was nonstop all night. What a player.
"First few minutes, we were nervous," he added. "Then we settled down. We're young. Our young guys wanted to play well for the seniors in this rematch, maybe too well. There was pressure. (Grayslake Central) came out ready to play. That's a good, tough team."