Plainfield N., Plainfield S. seek
late season momentum
By Dave Owen
Fighting through adversity has been the recent theme for both Plainfield North and Plainfield South.
The two district rivals meet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Plainfield South, looking to turn recent ups-and-downs into a surge of momentum heading into the mid-October state playoffs.
The host Cougars (10-6-1, 4-2-0 in the Southwest Prairie Conference) appear to be back on the upswing. Plainfield South bounced back from two-straight losses with victories last week over Joliet Central (1-0 in overtime Sept. 26) and Plainfield East (3-1 win Sept. 28).
“The last two games we just wanted it more than the other teams,” Cougars coach Bryant Williams said. “Last Tuesday we couldn’t get anything to go in the net versus Joliet Central, but we kept fighting and got the game winner from Dominic Skrip in overtime. And (goalkeeper) Quinton Rose made some big saves in goal for us that game.
“Thursday against Plainfield East we were able to beat their offside trap twice in the first half and get up 2-0 at the break. We also got a goal in the second half.
“Max Treptow, a sophomore, playing in his second varsity game got a goal and an assist for us, so his play was obviously key for us.”
Next up is Plainfield North (4-13-0, 2-4-0), which has shown grit in its last two matches but has gotten mixed results. The Tigers rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Joliet Central 3-2 in overtime Sept. 28 on a Yousef Ismael goal, then fell 3-1 in two overtimes September 30 to Plainfield Central.
Williams expects a big challenge from his neighbor to the north.
“The main key is to solve North’s 3-4-3 formation,” Williams said. “With three defensive players it’s easy to get impatient and try to push too many players forward, which leaves you open for counterattacks, so we have to be patient.
“The other key is not to just look at their record and think we don’t have to work hard. North is a talented team who has played a very tough schedule. They’ve also suffered some injuries. They are a much better team than their record would indicate.”
Familiarity could add another factor.
“As far as a district rivalry I try not to play that up too much,” Williams said. “I want our boys to be up for every game, but not get too amped up for one opponent or another. Getting too amped up leads to mistakes.
“The boys from both teams know each other and some play on the same club teams, so the rivalry will take care of itself.”
Planfield North won last year’s matchup 3-1 in overtime.
Both squads wrap up regular season play Oct. 10. For Plainfield South, regaining the form of its sizzling start to 2017 is the goal.
“I feel like we are getting back on track,” Williams said, “close to, but not quite where we were when we got off to a 7-1-1 start.
“Guys with nagging injuries are getting better. And we definitely need to get more consistent play from our back four. They are talented but young, and with that comes some inconsistent play. We need them to take the next step in the maturation process this season, rather than next season.”