NEW LENOX – Dan Potempa certainly doesn’t claim to be a prognosticator, but he had a feeling that someone would score after watching Minooka respond quickly to a late go-ahead goal by his Providence Catholic soccer team on Monday.
While it took awhile for his hunch to play out, it proved to be a case of better late than never for the Celtics coach after his team scored the match-winner in the 80th minute to pull out a dramatic 3-2 nonconference victory over the Indians.
With just 33 seconds left, Nick Orszulak sent a pass to Tristan Vidican, who had smooth sailing after the keeper tried to shut down the threat. The senior picked up his second goal of the match after assisting on the other tally.
That helped the Celtics (7-6-3) improve to 6-2-2 in its last 10 matches after they started the season at 1-4-1.
“I was happy with the result,” Potempa said. “This is the time where we want them to play more as a team and I don’t want to jinx myself by saying that we’ve turned the corner here, but I think we have since we’ve worked some things out. I knew that it would be tough at the start, but we’re starting to put it together and the seniors are taking their leadership roles now.
“When we went up 2-1, I knew that they were going to throw everything that they had at us and they got their equalizer. That’s when I said to my assistant that there was going to be another goal in this game, but I don’t know who it will be. I was happy when they tied t up at 2 that my guys didn’t hang their hands and didn’t shut down. Our guys kept fighting.”
The Indians (11-6-1) scored twice, with one goal coming on a penalty kick. Before Thursday’s 1-0 loss at Plainfield Central, Minooka had scored 24 goals in its previous five matches.
“We lacked a sense of urgency from the time that the first whistle blew,” Indians coach Nate Spriggs. “We need to come ready to play. And Providence was ready to play, and they played hard. They connected passes and did the small things and put the ball in the goal when they needed to. That last play didn’t define the entire game since we had chances to score, chances to stop them on the other goals and just didn’t get it done collectively.
“And things don’t get any easier since we go right back into conference against Romeoville. So we have to get it in gear and make the adjustments and turn the page. For some of the seniors, they may never play an organized soccer game after this. So you have to take advantage of the opportunity by coming out to compete and not taking any plays off.”
Providence looked to be in a great spot after going up 2-1 in the 68th minute when Vidican set up Jake Purvis for a goal. But the Indians responded with a score in the 69th minute when Frank Thompson found Ben Joder, who put in the equalizer. But as time was winding down, Vidican made the most of the final good scoring chance.
“When we play against good teams, we play our best and come together as a team,” Vidican said. “We’re young with only five or six returning varsity players from last year. We’re starting to form as a team and are playing like we should be. It’s been a learning curve, but everybody is stepping up, and we’re putting up some big results. One thing I love about this program is that we’re all really close and joke around and have a great time with it.”
In the first half, Vidican gave the Celtics a 1-0 lead in 21st minute when he scored on an assist from Carter Appleton. The Indians evened the score in the 29th minute when a hand ball was called in the box and Blake Brandenburg made the penalty kick.