By Mike Hammersley
The boys’ soccer team tied a match Saturday that they “dominated for 60 of the 80 minutes,” according to head coach Kurt Trenkle, against Mundelein 2-2. The team got an early goal from sophomore Richard Lenke and added one just before the half from junior Sylvester Rimaldo. Unfortunately, the team lost its lead in the last 20 minutes of the game by giving up to goals on headers: one with around 20 minutes to go and one in the last few minutes.
“The 2-0 lead in soccer is one of the hardest leads to keep in soccer,” Trenkle said. “Because when they got their first goal, the momentum changes and then you’re only up one.”
Despite the tie, the team is still “in the driver’s seat” to get into the conference championship game, according to Trenkle. The Knights are 10-3-3 this season, and they play Buffalo Grove on Monday. If they win there, they have to get either a win or tie out of the Homecoming game against Conant Friday to play for the MSL title. The fact that the team even has a shot at playing for the conference championship is something they wouldn’t have even considered last year, when they finished 6-11-4.
“We’ve really tightened things down in the back and we make fewer mistakes,” Trenkle said. “And we’ve got guys who are actually putting balls in the back of the net.”
Trenkle points out that sophomore Patryk Ruta, who scored just once his freshman year, has 10 goals already, and the addition of Lenke brought another 11 goals to the squad.
“[Ruta and Lenke] have scored 21 goals, and I don’t think our whole team scored 21 goals last year.” Trenkle said. “It makes a big difference.”
The defense has also stepped up its play.
Senior goalie Jim Brault is one shutout away from tying the school record for a season with nine, and that is a big reason the Knights have been so successful. In fact, nine of the 10 wins the team has have come when Brault shuts out the other team.
“We had good defenders last year, but we had more breakdowns,” Brault said. “This year, we’re having a lot less breakdowns, which leads the other teams to less goals.”
Brault claims that if he does surpass the record, “it’s really not my record, it’s the team’s record,” adding that he “can’t do it without the good defense.”
Ruta puts the Knights’ season in the best perspective.
“We had one goal this year, and that was to win games,” Ruta said. “Because last year that didn’t happen.”
This year it is.
To see more picture’s of the game, see our photo album.