The boys’ soccer team lost a tough match to Palatine Thursday in the MSL championship by a score of 5-1. Although the Knights played well in the second half, holding Palatine to a mere goal and adding a late one of their own from Mario Morales, they could not overcome the four-goal deficit they had coming into the half.
Head coach Kurt Trenkle attributes the loss to two main issues. One concern was the team’s handling of set pieces, which are when a team kicks the ball near the goal off of a corner or free kick.
“When they were doing set pieces or crossing the ball, we just didnt have the discipline to be close to the guys on the other end of those,” Trenkle said. “If you give their scorers that much room with the ball and that much time they’re going to score.”
On set pieces, the team suffered from senior all-conference defender Kyle Mataloni’s injury, according to Trenkle.
“The marking issues we had was mainly due to the fact that when he was in, he was in a lot of pain, so he wasn’t able to focus as much,” Trenkle said. “And when he was out, the guys didn’t organize the way they normally do because they were used to him doing that job.”
Also, the Pirates were putting most of their people in the center of the field, which cause problems for the Knights, according to Trenkle.
“We kept trying to play the ball through [the middle], and that wasn’t going to work,” Trenkle said. “So in the second half, we came out and made a concsious effort to play the sides, where we thought we were stronger, and it turned out to be the truth. The first 10-15 minutes of the second half, we got the ball down there and had some chances.”
Although the loss was demoralizing, Prospect can’t be too disappointed with the way they finished their regular season. The team finished 12-4-3 overall and second in conference, the best ever for the program, and something that has occured only twice before.
Trenkle is confident going into regional play next week because of his team’s performance in the second half.
“The guys did exactly what we asked them to do [in the second half], they were able to get the ball wide and work against pretty much anything,” Trenkle said. “So we know that we can rely on that.”
Senior all-conference midfielder Sam Slusher doesn’t seem too worried either; if anything, he has a positive attitude about the team’s ability to bounce back.
“We know we’re a good team,” Slusher said. “So we just have to put this game in the back of our heads, move on and realize that this game doesn’t ruin what all the other victories and wins have.”