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Game story: Lake Park survives Batavia's 2nd half surge

By Jared Birchfield, 09/06/23, 10:45PM CDT


Cardone’s provides the offense in Lancers' 2-1 DuKane win


By Jared Birchfield

ROSELLE – After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, Lake Park fended off a determined Batavia crew during the final 40 minutes to win Lancers’ coach Mike Bruckner’s DuKane Conference debut 2-1 Tuesday at Ralph Krupke Memorial Field.

Lake Park dominated during the first frame, but momentum quickly swung Batavia’s way when the Bulldogs scored 30 seconds after the break. However, Batavia was unable to get the equalizer in the final 39:30.

Francecso Cardone scored both Lancer goals.

The senior’s first goal came in the 15th minute. The forward dribbled up the right sideline before cutting in and putting the ball over the goal line from the right corner of the penalty box.

“I saw the two defenders kind of hanging back, so I knew I could take the kids on,” the senior said. “I saw some space in the middle and just toed the ball into the corner.”

Cardone, who was named the Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match for his offensive prowess, teamed up with Anthony Juarez to complete his brace four minutes later. Juarez passed to Cardone at top of the box, where he corralled the ball and knocked it in.

“Anthony and I have been working on the connection in practice,” said the senior. “He looked up, and gave me ‘the look’ and sent a great ball. I just sent it into the back of the net.”

Preparation on both sides of the ball was the key to the Lancers’ dominating first half performance according to Bruckner.

“We did create chances in the first half,” said the Lake Park coach. “Defensively, we also did our homework for how they were going to set up, how they were going to defend and what they would do when they won (the ball).

“We said that if we can send our fullbacks high and wide, get their wingers away, that would isolate their forward Brokk Olberg, who I think you saw in the first half was having to cover a lot of ground and wasn’t able to. So, we were able to get our center backs some space.”

Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco thought his team needed the first 40 minutes to get their bearings.

“In the first half, I think it was more just figuring out what they’re doing, being aware of that and some one-on-one stuff,” the Bulldogs coach said. “Plus, Lake Park took advantage of some opportunities that they had.”

Olberg scored Batavia’s goal from 20 yards just 30 seconds after the second half kickoff.

“During halftime I saw the other team kind of just joking around like they didn’t seem too focused,” Olberg said. “So I told my team, ‘Come on let’s put one in right here, because they’re not focused.’

“I drove up the field and saw the center back had a bad touch, so I put myself on the ball and put it in.”

The quick goal helped the team’s morale, and Gianfrancesco felt his squad made the necessary adjustments.

“Getting that first goal always helps. I just think we recognized the things that we could do against them and tried to apply them,” he said. “I thought we did a better job keeping it in their half. I thought we had the better run of the play in the second half. We had to get that equalizing goal, and we kept going after Lake Park in their offensive third.”

“We really picked it up (after the goal),” said Olberg. “We realized that we can win this game. We’re still in this.”

The Bulldogs (1-4-0, 0-1-0) never wavered in their attack. Batavia’s last shot on goal came with six ticks on the clock -- Max Simmons header near the goalmouth went over the bar.

“He lost the ball in the lights,” noted Olberg.

Lake Park (4-3-0, 1-0-0) was not prepared for Batavia’s second half surge.

“At halftime we talked a lot about the decisions that needed to be made when they’re on the ball,” Brucker said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t see enough of that in the second half. We weren’t at it as much as we needed to be. 

“They came out like a house on fire. We did not get control of the game with our possessions which we certainly could have done.”

Cardone felt his team let up on the gas pedal in the second half.

“First half we started really well. We’re attacking them, defending well. Then in the second half we kind of stepped down a little bit,” said the senior. “We got the win, thank God, but we couldn’t show 110 percent; we only showed 50 percent.”

Batavia also adjusted to one of Lake Park’s defensive strategies.

“We were trying to hurt them more on the outside, which is I think why a lot more of our chances came in the first half “ said the Lake Park coach. “We needed to create more of those situations in the second half, so obviously we need to work on it.”

Bruckner was pleased with midfielders Jacob Tourtillott and Danny Chu’s defensive play.

“Jacob and Danny knew to never let a ball go behind them. We asked them to protect space in front,” said the Lancers coach. “We talked in the film room about how to win the first ball, how to make sure we win the second ball. For the most part, their sliding, pressuring and covering were pretty good.”

Tourtillot believes the midfield is hitting its stride after seven matches.

“We’re finally coming together as unit. We’re communicating, and we have a lot of speed,” the senior said.

He also felt his squad was not at its best in the second half.

“In the first half, we had good ball movement, and we got it up to our number 9 (Cardone),” Tourtillot said “But we got a little lazy after the whistle blew in the second half.”

Gianfrancesco lauded his forwards’ play.

“Jesse (Alvarez) worked really hard on the right side for a good bit. So did Max (Simmons) on the other side, and Brokk had the goal,” the Bulldogs coach said.

He also singled out junior reserve midfielder Matt Vrba.

“Matt on the left side did a nice job closing that side down,” he said.

Batavia goalkeeper Teagen Ritko-Siros stopped six shots, while Mario Gambino, his Lake Park counterpart, halted three.

Starting lineups

GK: Teagen Ritko-Siros
D: Max Debaun
D: Xavier Justice
D: Luke Petersen
D: Owen Stahl
M: Sam Barsch
M: Alex Marshall
M: John Smeraglinolo
F: Brokk Olberg
F: Jesse Alvarez
F: Max Simmons

Lake Park
GK: Mario Gambino
D: Patrick Swacha
D: Jonny Ademi
D: Lucas Boebel
D: Dominick Nash
MF: Jacob Tourtillott
MF: Danny Chukurov
MF: Anthony Juarez
F: Carlos Ramos
F: Francecso Cardone
F: Andrew Donato

Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match: Francecso Cardone, sr., F, Lake Park

Scoring Summary

First half
LP: Cardone (unassisted), 15’
LP: Cardone (Juarez), 19’

Second half
B: Olberg (unassisted), 41’