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Prep Sports

Boys soccer: Hilltoppers done in by St. Viator in one tough stretch

JOLIET – Sometimes a final score doesn’t reflect the way a game actually unfolded.

That certainly was the case in Monday’s East Suburban Catholic Conference boys soccer match between St. Viator and Joliet Catholic Academy at Joliet Memorial Stadium.

The Hilltoppers played on even terms with the Lions for about an hour, but then things quickly unraveled for them, and instead of the final score being close, it got out of hand.

St. Viator, a program that long has been among the ESCC’s best, broke open a scoreless tie in the 59th minute, and then proceeded to add four more goals in just under nine minutes to capture a 5-0 victory.

The Lions are coached by 40-year veteran Mike Taylor, who is the second-winningest coach in state history,

Although he obviously didn’t like what unfolded for his Hilltoppers during that rough stretch, coach Tom Cranmer definitely was pleased with how they held the Lions in check for so long and with their performance in the first half.

“I think the first half was probably the best half of soccer that we’ve put together all season,” Cranmer said. “Saint Viator earned every one of the chances that they had, and we played spectacular. We played that way for about 20 minutes in the second half, but then they figured out the left side, and we couldn’t make adjustments quick enough.”

Sebastian Howarth finally found the net with a long-range attempt. A short while later, JCA (2-3-2, 1-1) was called for a hand ball in the box and Conrad Glodz made the penalty kick. David Stahl followed with the next two goals and Joey Taylor added the final score. St. Viator goalkeeper Matt Marchiori stopped everything that came his way to record the shutout.

“I thought they were a well-disciplined team that kept their shape and were in the ball game,” Taylor said. “I thought we played good ball, and they played good ball against us. But once we eventually broke them, at that point I knew that we would keep on going. But they played well, gave us everything they had, and credit to their coach.”

After the Lions had a couple of good opportunities in the opening minutes of the match, the Hilltoppers began to apply some pressure, including a nice combination from Tyler Kaput to Jonathan Zadel that was thwarted by the goalie.

JCA had a few other good chances with Kaput offering up a pair of corner kicks and one free kick, but they really didn’t lead to any good scoring chances.

Meanwhile, JCA goalkeeper Jacob Budz did his part to keep the Lions off of the scoreboard by stopping all of their attempts in the first half. Joey O’Connell took over for the Hilltoppers in goal after the break and made a series of nice stops during one brief sequence early on.

The Hilltoppers had a pair of good chances after halftime when Zadel got free in front of the net, but the goalie disrupted the threat. And Aldo Estrada drove toward the net, but wasn’t able to get off a good shot.

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