skip navigation

Game story: Barrington downs Glenbrook South in PK thriller

By Bill McLean, 10/19/23, 3:15PM CDT


40-yard late regulation goal, 100th-minute equalizer, sudden-death shootout highlights in regional semi victory

NORTHBROOK — A tale of two embraces appeared after 100 minutes of gripping action and two taut sessions of penalty kicks Wednesday night.

Barrington’s entire squad and coaching staff huddled near a sideline — arms draped across shoulders, smiles stuck on high beam — following the Broncos’ shootout defeat of Glenbrook South’s Titans in a Class 3A Glenbrook North Regional semifinal.

Some 50 yards away, in the middle of the pitch at William Lutz Stadium, Titans senior forward Conor Beach and his father, Chris, hugged each other for 20 seconds, 30 seconds, a full minute. Conor was sobbing. Chris was comforting.

Neither wanted to let go.

The son had contributed an assist and made a shootout PK in a match that stood 1-1 after 80 minutes and 2-2 after the second of two 10-minute overtime sessions. Barrington edged Glenbrook South 8-7 in the tiebreaker, after each side attempted nine spot-kicks.

“My soccer career ended with a game like this,” said Chris Beach, a Rutgers University graduate.

Rutgers fell to UCLA in a shootout loss in the NCAA Division I championship game in 1990. Mr. Beach made a shootout PK in it.

His son's high school soccer career ended the same way Wednesday night.

“We had our ups and downs this season,” said Conor Beach, who plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. “But we never hung our heads during the down times. We never stopped believing in each other, and that, more than anything else, made me proud to be a part of this team.”

The Class 3A regional semifinal in the Fremd Sectional pitted eighth-seeded Glenbrook South against ninth-seeded Barrington in windy, rainy conditions. The match featured: hustle plays, sensational set pieces, determined and tireless players incapacitated for minutes (due to leg cramps, mostly), fearless defensive stops, crowd-pleasing saves, a 40-yard goal that preserved Barrington’s postseason life, and a Glenbrook South goal — tallied with only 31 seconds left in the second OT — that triggered the shootout.

“A game like this is what makes high school sports so special,” said Barrington coach Scott Steib, whose 2022 squad split a pair of postseason shootouts. “It was exciting. It also revealed our boys’ tremendous character and willingness to battle in order to play again. I’m glad my team experienced something like this.

“This season has not been a dream season,” he continued. “I mean, look at our record (8-11-3). I hate losing. But sometimes in life, you get thrown into a cauldron. What you do to get out of it says a lot about you.”

Barrington’s win secured a matchup against top-seeded host Glenbrook North (17-3-2) for the regional championship at 1 p.m. Saturday. Glenbrook North — ranked no. 9 in the final regular-season Chicagoland Soccer Top 25 — defeated 16th-seeded Libertyville 2-0 in Wednesday’s first semifinal.

Barrington and Glenbrook North tied 1-1 in a Barrington Classic pool play match Aug. 29.

Wind-aided Glenbrook South led Barrington 1-0 at halftime Wednesday night. A strong throw-in by Titans junior back Matteus Johansson entered box territory in the 27th minute.

Beach took a five-yard shot that clanged off the crossbar. Glenbrook South sophomore back T.J. Philips then alertly flicked a left-footed shot across frame that eluded Broncos senior goalkeeper Charlie Field (11 saves, plys two stops in PKs).

Glenbrook South (10-10-3) and its stout defense, paced by junior back Paul Scherer, kept Barrington scoreless through the 71st minute. In the 72nd, Broncos junior midfielder Brian Mazgaj struck a blistering, 40-yard shot off a feed from reserve senior midfielder Wilson Neuhauser.

The ball soared to the goal’s right quadrant above Titans junior keeper Michael Falk (eight saves) and knotted matters at 1.

Barrington went up 2-1 in the seventh minute of the first OT. Senior forward Philip Jackowski delivered a 15-yard pass to senior forward Kian Cullen, who back-posted an eight-yard shot past Falk.

Delightful drama unfolded late — late, late, as in the 100th minute — of the second extra session. It all started, again, with a Johansson throw-in. His toss found Scherer’s head. The Titan’s shot glanced off a post and in to stun the Broncos and invigorate Glenbrook South Nation.

Time remaining: 0:31.

“For us to claw back like that and give us a chance to extend our season … I’m really proud of these boys,” Titans coach Reggie Lara said. “It was a tough season for us. It would have been easy for many of them to give up at times, but they didn’t.

“They dug deep then. They dug deep tonight. They made the school proud.

“It’s not about the plaques, the trophies,” he added. “It’s about fighting to continue to practice some more, to play together in another playoff game. We came so close to being able to practice tomorrow and prepare for another playoff game.”

Of the five shots in the first PK segment; each team made four. Field, battling an injury on and off all season, recorded a leg save, while diving to his left, on Glenbrook South’s second spot-kick.

In the shootout’s sudden death phase, both teams converted their first three PKs. To open the ninth round, Barrington junior midfielder Patrick Tabb solved Falk, and set the stage for the long night’s final scene.

Field kicked his right leg out in mid-dive, hoping it would interrupt the path of PK. His leg hit the ball while he was airborne for the game-deciding save.

“This win, it feels so good,” Field said. “We stayed motivated after Glenbrook South scored that late goal — that ended up working. The thought of our season ending tonight terrorized me.

“That ended up working for me,” the keeper repeated.

The Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match didn’t score a goal, didn’t dish an assist, didn’t make an acrobatic save. All Barrington senior center back/dangerous free-kick man Logan Cidulka did was be Logan Cidulka: relentless, inspired, dominant. If soccer had never been invented, Cidulka would probably be leading Barrington’s playoff-bound football team in tackles and interceptions and field goals as a ferocious linebacker and powerful placekicker.

“No way did I want our season to end tonight. No, sir,” Cidulka said. “We were all about grit and grinding, especially in OT when we were all exhausted.”

Steib rattled off a slew of names from his roster while recounting his club’s kickoff-to-final-save effort Wednesday night.

“So many of our guys came up big, and they did so in tough weather conditions,” he said. “Start with Logan. He doesn’t just play physical, tough soccer; he’s also intelligent out there with composure. (Sophomore back) Jack Ball played well. (Senior midfielder) Mattie Vitale did some wonderful things out there.

“So did Kian (Cullen) and Philip (Jankowski). Brian Mazgaj’s shot — what a shot that was. I thought (Patrick) Tabb played great off the bench.

“And Charlie, in goal,” he added. “We weren’t even sure he’d be healthy enough to start for us.

“We get to keep going, keep competing. We’re going to enjoy this.”


Steib heard a delicious rumor after Wednesday’s thriller. “The word is out there that our manager, Will Karsten, will buy pizza for the entire team,” the coach said. … Barrington’s Vitale and Ball were named to the all-Mid-Suburban League team last week. … Cullen, on what winning on Wednesday meant: “I’ve never looked forward to showing up for practices more than I do now.” … Sophomore midfielder Matheus Carvalho (dribbling skills), senior midfielder Nathan Halpern (speed) and junior forward Jacob Ciszyk (soccer IQ) were among Glenbrook South’s standouts vs. Barrington. …. Titans keeper Falk ventured about seven yards off his line to save a point-blank shot off the foot of Barrington senior midfielder Duda Gawronski in the 70th minute. In the first half, Falk showcased his impressive reflexes to halt Vitale shots in successive possessions.

Starting lineups

GK Charlie Field
D Logan Cidulka
D Andy Sfondilis
D Adam Walocha
D Nico Hausser
D Jack Ball
MF Brian Mazgaj
MF Mattie Vitale
MF Duda Gawronski
F Philip Jackowski
F Kian Cullen

Glenbrook South
GK Michael Falk
D Marben Rivera
D T.J. Philips
D Matteus Johansson
D Paul Scherer
MF Anthony Kifarkis
MF Nathan Halpern
MF Chris Vazquez
F Conor Beach
F Jacob Ciszyk
F Matheus Carvalho

Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match: Logan Cidulka, sr., D, Barrington

Scoring summary

First half
Glenbrook South — Philips (Beach, Johansson), 27’

Second half
Barrington — Mazgaj (Wilson Neuhauser), 72’

First overtime
Barrington — Cullen (Jackowski), 87’

Second overtime
Glenbrook South — Scherer (Johansson), 100’

First round
Barrington: Mazgaj (good), Gawronski (good), Cidulka (good), Ball (over), Vitale (good)
Glenbrook South: Vazquez (good), Halpern (saved), Beach (good), Carvalho (good), Aidan Evans (good)

Second round
Barrington: Walocha (good), Magdiel Magdaleno (good), Justin Rebbeck (good), Patrick Tabb (good)
Glenbrook South: Matthew West (good), Yianni Biscotakis (good), Stanislav Gurenko (good), Jacob Cramer (saved)