skip navigation

Game story: Grayslake Central stuns Glenbrook North

By Mike Garofola, 10/11/23, 11:15PM CDT


Rams 1-0 win spoils Spartans Senior Night ​​​​​​​

NORTHBROOK -- Grayslake Central’s performance and effort during its disappointing 1-0 home loss to league rival Wauconda last Friday night was less than sparkling, and it left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Rams players and staff.

"We just did play well at all in our game with Wauconda, I don't know if it was a case of nerves, because of the importance of the game or what, but it was bad," began Rams senior Mitchell Fein.

"Tonight, the effort, energy, and urgency were there, and to come in here against a very good, state-ranked team like Glenbrook North and get a big win should give all of us a lot more confidence heading into state playoffs."

"I don't want to take anything away from Wauconda, who are a really good team, but we were awful against them," said Rams manager Keith Andersson after his men claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Spartans that spoiled Senior Night at William Lutz Stadium. “Just nothing looked good, or worked for us that night. There's always a little concern as to where your guys are at this point (of the season).

"Much better of an effort tonight.

"Paul (Vignocchi, Spartans manager) has a great team. They’re big, strong, physical and dangerous, which in my mind means they will have a good, long run in the postseason. I am happy and proud of the result we got tonight. Now we'll have some time to get ourselves healthy, and ready for regionals."

The Rams (11-4-0), who are ranked fourth in the Chicagoland Soccer Class AA Super 7 poll, were anointed with the top seed in their own sectional. They will now have eight days off in order to prepare for either Antioch or Cary-Grove in an Antioch Regional semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 18.

"(They) Grayslake Central have a very good team,” said Vignocchi. “Keith, and his staff do a great job over there. It was a game where our play in the first half wasn't where it needed to be, but I was happy that we came out to play a much better second half of soccer.

"It was Senior Night, so our starting 11 was a little different than normal, so we looked a little out of sorts in the first 15-20 minutes.

"We didn't create much at all in the first half, not even from long throws. But in the second half, Chase (Petersen) put several into the mix. They have a terrific keeper, and he took that advantage away from us on a handful of the deep throws we created."

Petersen, as most Spartans fans and opponents know, is a major weapon for Vignocchi’s club. The Spartans have scored several goals off his long-range missiles that keep the opposition under pressure.

"We knew no. 11 (Petersen) could throw the ball a long way," said Grayslake Central keeper Uriel Garcia-Perez.
“So, we had to defend those long throws as best as we could.”

The 2022 Chicagoland Soccer All-State keeper enjoyed a sensational night between the sticks for the Rams. He won 95 percent of his aerial challenges on Petersen throws or free kicks sent into the box. He also showed off his excellent speed and awareness of danger when he raced off his line to meet 50/50 balls.

Garcia-Perez also possesses an incredibly strong left foot, which he exhibited with 50-60-yard punts that forced the Spartans (16-3-1) to initiate play deep in their own end.

"What can you say about Uri?” asked Fein. “He's just a great player, who is amazing in goal for us. He really gives us another field player, because he has such a great touch."

Glenbrook North, which is ranked eighth in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, had something to say about him.

"We didn't really do much of anything with our attack in the first half, but their keeper had a big foot, which he used to send the ball the other way," Petersen said. “Plus, he came out to win most of our long throws by going high into the air."

Grayslake Central started this contest on their front foot with Fein, Prince Trawick and Ian Sereno playing quick, purposeful balls to earn a pair of corners and send two attempts on frame.

Trawick tested keeper, Zeus Friman with a 20-yard looping effort; Sereno went wide after Nate Phadnis headed a ball out of the Spartans box.

It was clear from the onset that Fein would run the game for the visitors. The all-state candidate is the sort of player who craves the ball as the Rams attacking midfielder but can also play the holding role just as well. He picked his spots to either go forward or distribute to his teammates.

A quality opportunity went through Fein in the 11th minute. It began with Gabe Finley and ended with Sereno, who attempted to chip Friman at the spot. But the senior turned away the best early chance of the night.

Friman started in Vignocchi's first 11 for junior Gil Meyers, who has done an outstanding job this season.

Grayslake Central lost Sereno (seven goals, five assists) in the 12th minute after Fein sent him through into the box where the ever present Phadnis was there for the tackle.

The jarring, but clean challenge from the Spartans senior kept Sereno on the turf for several minutes. He left, but returned after stretching out a stiff back. He played sparingly after the intermission to keep him from any additional collisions and to get him healthy and ready for the postseason.

Glenbrook North finally got itself into the game when a nice bit of build-up saw five different Spartans have a touch to breathe some much-needed life into the attack.

Moments after a quick restart, Ian Lee (20 goals, eight assists) played teammate Michael Miller through. If not for an alert Garcia-Perez, who sensed trouble, Miller could have been in a 1-v-1 with the Rams keeper.

Grayslake Central senior Miles O'Sullivan, brought on for the injured Sereno, raced up the left side, and forced Friman into action with his left-footed effort in the 22nd minute.

The first two long throws of the first half from Petersen yielded nothing, nor did a counter led by Fein going the other way soon thereafter.

"We started to possess a little better as the first half went on, but we were not really dangerous in the final third," admitted Petersen.

The last 5-6 minutes of the first half saw neither side enjoy much of the play or possession. That came thanks in part to a concerted effort to turn up the pressure and not allow much time or space to turn or distribute. The strategy led to several balls given away in the middle of the park.

"There was a period in that first half when we got away from doing what we needed to,” said Andersson. “That was one-two touch passes, movement and quicker play. But some of that was due to GBN, who put more pressure on us and the ball.”

After the break, the home side started brightly and created a couple of good chances during the opening five minutes of the second period.

Steven Rhee (11 goals) bent his free kick into the box to force Garcia-Perez to save. The Spartans best chance thus far followed when Miller fired an angled smash from near the endline that hit the far post before bounding away.

Grayslake Central wasted a glorious chance in the 54th minute when a superb early ball from Fein set Trawick free.

The junior may have had just a hint too much pace on the ball he played across to Sereno, who in full gallop was unable to redirect.

Both sides continued to spurn a chance or two apiece as the game began to open up with each side believing one goal might decide this nonconference affair.

Sam Lappin and Jake Armstrong ran away from Grayslake Central on a lovely counter that ended with a foul committed against Lappin.

This 56th minute effort led to nothing, nor did a pair of long throws from Petersen, the second of which saw Rhee head over the spot.

Petersen's fourth deep long throw spilled out to Lappin, who from 30 yards watched his attempt saved by Garcia-Perez.

Jack Lapidus shot was kept out at the back post by a brave tackle from Lappin, who then, once again, went on an enterprising run on the counter. He passed to Miller, whose eventual shot was blocked on the way in.

Moments later, confusion, and a square pass played along the Glenbrook North decided the game. The loose ball fell to the ever-present Fein, who wasted little time in steering in his 67th minute effort past Zeus Friman, who had no chance.

"When a chance like that comes, you've got to take full advantage and put it into the back of the net," said Fein, who scored his team leading 14th goal. He and Garcia-Lopez shared the Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match honor.

Trawick missed a chance to double the visitors lead from in-close in the 72nd minute.

Glenbrook North, despite pushing numbers forward for the last minutes of regulation, was unable to get back even.

"Our backline were fantastic tonight," said Fein of Uriel Alonso, Anderson Chevrier and Finley.

"We were a lot more composed tonight compared to our game with Wauconda," added Garcia-Perez. “We came out ready to play with more energy, which we needed to be against such a great team.”

"We should feel a lot better of ourselves after playing a hard-fought 80 minutes against a great 3A team," began Andersson.

"We have some things we need to sort out, and clean up, such as time management. Tonight, in the last five minutes, we could have played a little smarter. "

Glenbrook North closes its regular-season on Thursday, when its hosts St. Ignatius at 5:30 p.m.

"We made a mistake in our own end, and (they) took advantage of it," said Vignocchi. “But we had our chances also in that second half. We need to finish those chances and be a little sharper in our play along the back.”

"It was a little disappointing losing here tonight," added Petersen. “But we have a very good team with a lot of very good players, who play with pride. I know we'll bounce back and be ready to go on Thursday night.”

Starting lineups

Grayslake Central (3-4-3)
G- Uriel Garcia-Perez
D- Uriel Alonso
D- Anderson Chevrier
D- Gabe Finley
M- Nick Molochnikov
M- Mitchell Fein
M- Jake Clement
M- Jack Lapidus
F- Jaziel Alonso
F- Ivan Sereno
F- Prince Trawick

Glenbrook North (4-4-2)
G- Zeus Friman
D- Nate Phadnis
D- Sam Lappin
D- Ben Melnick
D- Jordan Elliott
M- Yianny Caparos
M- Kieran Layland
M- Steven Rhee
M- Brady Spiggos
F- Ami Argentar
F- Ian Lee

Chicagoland Soccer Men of the Match: Mitchell Fein, sr., MF, Grayslake Central; 
Uriel Garcia-Perez, sr., GK, Grayslake Central

Referee: Miguel Chavez

Scoring summary

First half 
No scoring

Second half
Grayslake Central: Fein (unassisted), 67'