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Prep Sports

Boys soccer: Tigers, Celtics resilient in draw

JOLIET – Most soccer coaches don’t like seeing their team give up four goals in a match.

Joliet West’s Patrick Korthauer and Providence Catholic’s Dan Potempa are no exception, because they realize that allowing four goals in a match usually leads to unwanted results.

But considering how play unfolded for both teams in Monday’s nonconference match, the coaches accepted a 4-all draw because of the resiliency that players on both sides showed.

West grabbed an early 2-0 lead, but Providence scored three straight goals near the break to take the lead. After the Tigers evened the match in the 70th minute, Providence looked like it might have scored the winner in the 78th minute, but the Tigers answered just 21 seconds later to send both teams home with a draw and any positives they could take away from the match.

“I was happy with the results,” Potempa said. “If we would have played this game earlier, we definitely would have not gotten that result. We’re young and have a lot of talent, but we’re still trying to put it all together and figure some things out. I’m very proud of them since they fought back against a team that beat us, 6-1, last year. When we got down, 2-0, I thought it might get out of hand real quick, but they stepped up and weren’t going to let that happen.

“We’ve been struggling to create opportunities and were able to get some, and I’m glad that we were able to capitalize. The reason why we play games like this against opponents like Joliet West is that when it comes to the playoffs, the kids have this experience to fall back on, like being down against a tough team and fighting back.”

Things started out well for the Tigers (8-7-1), who took the first lead in the 12th minute when Alex Escamilla sent a pass in front that Anthony Pantoja connected on from close range. West moved ahead 2-0 in the 31st minute as Oscar Haro sent in a long pass to Aaron Sanchez, who made a run and put in a nice attempt to grab a 2-0 lead.

Providence (4-5-3) finally broke through in the 36th minute when Tristan Vidican battled for a loose ball in front and put in a short try. Then in the 38th minute, the Celtics were back at it as Vidican found Jake Purvis, who fired in a shot to even the match.

The Celtics carried that momentum into the second half and connected on their third goal in a 7:36 span when they struck again in the 43rd minute as Nick Orszulak made a nice pass from near the sideline that went in front of the net and Nick Boba was there to head it in.

West looked to tie in the 47th minute, but Guillherme Gorescu made a stop on a penalty kick by Haro. The Celtic keeper continued frustrating the Tigers, thwarting attempts by Gavin Moore, Rodrigo Torres and Tony Kochev before they evened things at 3 in the 70th minute when Torres found Jorge Chavez, who put his shot just inside the post.

In the 78th minute, Andrew Pellettiere fired in a long attempt to put the Celtics up, 4-3, but 21 seconds later, Sanchez answered to end the drama.

“It was one of those where at no point in the game did you have an idea of what was going to happen at the end,” Korthauer said. “There were three or four different lead changes throughout the game. Credit to Providence for not giving up and continuing to press, and the same can be said for our boys. To go down a goal after a hard-fought game with two and a half minutes to go and then to come back and get the game-tying goal, it was nice to see that fight. One of the things they’ve shown all season is that they don’t ever stop.

“It’s easy to put your heads down in that last situation and see out the game, but it takes a lot more from within to dig deep and fight through. So it was nice to see our guys respond that way today. We’d like at a certain point to show that we don’t need that resiliency by going up a goal or two and then staying that way. But in this moment, it was good to see.”

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