NORTHFIELD -- During the lead-up to their big Central Suburban League South Division trip to New Trier, Glenbrook North’s Sam Lappin raved about the performances of teammates Jackson Lee and Chase Petersen.
Lee, a sophomore, is known for his goal-scoring acumen, creativity and craftiness. Petersen is the guy whose long throw-ins strike fear into opponents. He is also a first-rate defender at outside back.
For most of Monday night, fifth-ranked New Trier denied Lee a quality sniff off the goal and defended Petersen’s missiles into the box.
However, when the seventh-ranked visitors needed their dynamic duo to come through, they did just that. Lee struck the eventual game-winner in the 70th minute off a deep throw from Petersen to claim a 2-1 victory in a gripping clash that became the first loss of the season for New Trier and manager Matt Ravencraft.
"We talked about how important it was to manage and defend those super-long throws from no. 11 (Petersen)," said the Trevians skipper, whose club fell to 7-1-1 overall and 0-1-0 in league play. “Really, I felt like we did a very good job all night long. We let that one get away from us, and it cost us the game.”
Glenbrook South knows what it has in Petersen.
"(Chase) is the ultimate weapon for us with those long throws of his that just continue to amaze all of us," Lappin said before the contest.
"I know that I wouldn't want to defend throws from Chase," said junior Alex Ferencz, who played alongside Lappin as a double six in the Spartans 4-3-3 formation. “He is so accurate with all of them. We’ve been really good at getting on the end of them, especially tonight when Jackson came up big for us."
"We learned a lot about how we might want to play this season during the four games we recently played at the Barrington Classic," said Glenbrook North manager Paul Vignocchi of the tournament that his Spartans captured. “From that, we felt we would be best suited moving Lappin in alongside Ferencz, and it has really helped solidify our play in the midfield.”
The game lived up to its billing. It started at full throttle and never let up with breathless energy from both clubs, and plenty of hard-fought physical challenges from the outset over a wet track in a constant rain that fell at Robert Naughton Field.
"The conditions made for play to be much quicker than we all would have liked it to be, but I felt we made adjustments for it against a very good Glenbrook North team," said Trevians’ senior midfielder and tri-captain Ian Vichnick, who shared Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match honors with Ferencz.
"We had a lot of heart and fight with our game tonight, especially after we scored the opener," continued Vichnick. “Then they pulled that one back almost right away.
"We did a lot of good things in this game, including defending those long throws from deep in our own end (except) the one that gave them the game."
Both sides were unable to get their front three operating at their best, due in part to the constant pressure on the ball that allowed little time and space for any type of possession soccer to take place.
A trio of deep throws from Petersen created one corner and a half-chance from Lappin that went wide in the 13th minute.
On the other side of the park, a well-struck snap-shot from Trevians leading-scorer Aidan O'Neill went wide, as did teammate Ollie Fernandez's glancing header after a Harrison Hahner pass. The flurry ended the first 20 minutes of action.
"I thought we came out pretty well in that first half,” said Vignocchi. “We defended well against a very athletic New Trier team that can get the ball in your own end very quickly."
Through the first half hour, the Spartans (9-0-1, 1-0-0) had a little more of the ball and possession, while the home side carved out one or two chances.
New Trier’s Calyx Hoover ran onto an early ball out of the back before firing wide from 30 yards. Then his teammate, sophomore Ryan Schneider, attempted to chip Spartans keeper Gil Meyers after collecting a looping ball, also from out of the back.
Sandwiched in between this nice sequence from the home side was the first good chance of the evening from the visitors -- Ferencz tested Trevians keeper Shafer Brahm from 22 yards.
The opening goal came soon after Yannick Vaughan was saved by Meyers in the 48th minute. A marvelous pass from O'Neill through Anthony Markus, in transition, gave way to Ethan Green giving the home side a 1-0 advantage.
The weighted pass to Green was near perfect. It allowed Green a sublime final touch on the end of his run up the left side before his shot that skittered out of the reach of Meyers.
"That goal from Ethan was just amazing from start to finish," exclaimed Ravenscraft. “(That) ball from Aidan was fantastic.”
"(Great) goal from Ethan," said Vichnick. “It gave us a lot of momentum, but they came right back to get even. That took a lot out of us for a few minutes.”
Glenbrook North reknotted the score after a wild sequence. A deep throw from Petersen led to a lovely deep early ball from Jordan Elliott that set Jack Armstrong free.
Trevians keeper Brahm had no other choice but to challenge the onrushing Armstrong. In doing so, he fouled the Spartans junior just outside his box.
On the ensuing free kick, Ian Lee played his effort into the box. From there, Ferencz steered in a close-range effort past Thomas Terry. The keeper subbed in after Brahm was given a yellow card for his tackle.
"Ian gave me a great ball," said Ferencz. “And once again that goal came off another one of those great throws from Chase (Petersen), who helped keep the pressure on them.”
The Ferencz equalizer in the 49th minute signaled the start of a nonstop, all-action final 30 minutes of soccer. It was played at a high rate of speed, with many first- and second-ball challenges that were not for the weak of heart.
Twice, Trevians senior Francis Fernandez attempted to chip Meyers from in-close but both tries ended with confident saves by the Spartans keeper.
Meyers was at his best in the 61st minute when he held on to a wicked cracker from Noah Capocchi, who was sent up by teammates Fernandez and O'Neill.
Meyers did well to stay with O’Neill’s low blast that picked up plenty of speed off the wet turf in the 69th minute on the tail end of some of the best possession play of the night from the home side.
"Aidan was terrific for us all night - his distribution made him dangerous for us in our attack," said Ravenscraft. "Ian (Vichnick) was just about everywhere in the middle of the park as well. And I should mention Tony Markus also, he played very well as one of our wing backs all night long."
Glenbrook North stayed composed and organized throughout 15 minutes of lively play by the home side. In doing so, the Spartans produced some ferocious high pressure that would lead to the game-winner.
The second New Trier clear of consecutive corner kicks was parried over the touchline. That brought Peterson into action.
The junior unloaded one of his trademark long-range throws into the box. The ball spilled free long enough for Jackson Lee to send his eighth goal of the season in from near the spot.
With the lead,Vignocchi went to a 5-4-1 formation for the final 10 minutes. Except for a pair of free kicks and corners conceded by his men, the Spartans managed their one-goal advantage cleanly until the final whistle.
"We could have easily folded after they scored their first goal, but we didn't," said Jackson Lee. “I really believe it was our senior leadership that was the difference. They helped keep our heads up and focused.”
"It was the type of game we expected to be in with New Trier: back-and-forth; and just a dog fight from start to finish," began Vignocchi, whose club hosts high-flying Evanston in another crucial South Division battle at 7 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 14).
"It was a tough, physical game, with each side taking turns controlling the play, but for us, the heart, fight, and grit that all the guys showed was something that I was most proud of."
"It was a very good game that could have gone either way," began Ravenscraft.
"The first half was very good for us, we did a lot of good things with and without the ball, and had a few chances in both halves that we could have finished.
"We obviously need to clean a few things up. We need to find a way to put a full 80 minutes of soccer together. If we do, we'll be in good shape from here on out.
"Credit Paul and his team. They are a very good team, that play hard with a nice-work rate and energy."
New Trier meets division title contender Maine South on Thursday (Sept. 14) in Park Ridge. The Hawks enter the match after a 3-1 victory over Glenbrook South on Tuesday.
Glenbrook North (4-3-3)
G- Gil Meyers
D- Jordan Elliott
D- Eli Shuman
D- Ben Melnick
D- Chase Petersen
M- Sam Lappin
M- Alex Ferencz
M- Ian Lee
F- Steven Rhee
F- Jackson Lee
F- Michael Miller
New Trier (3-4-3)
G- Shafer Brahm
D- Harrison Hahner
D- Kevin Farina
D- Liam Myers
M- Ian Vichnick
M- Ollie Fernandez
M- Tony Markus
M- Aidan O'Neill
F- Yannick Vaughn
F- Cole Driscoll
F- Ethan Green
Chicagoland Soccer Men of the Match:
Alex Ferencz, jr., MF, Glenbrook North;
Ian Vichnick, sr., MF, New Trier
Referee: Marek Zacios
Glenbrook North: Ferencz (Ian Lee), 49'
New Trier: Green (O'Neill), 48'
Glenbrook North: Jackson Lee (Petersen), 70'