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Argo tops Reavis at SeatGeek; Chicago Christian wins first regional title since 2014

By Steve Millar
Correspondent

Argo sophomore Hubert Grele could not have imagined a better place to play one of his best games of the season.

Taking on rival Reavis at SeatGeek Stadium, Grele produced a goal and two assists to lead the Argonauts to a 3-0 South Suburban Red win on Oct. 12.

“Getting to play here was so much fun,” Grele said of the match at the Chicago Red Stars’ home field. “To come through with a goal and two assists here, it feels really nice. It was really exciting.”

Sophomore Jose Perez and senior Simon Cicha also scored for the Argonauts, while Xavier Brant made five saves for the shutout.

The following day, Argo (11-8-2, 4-5-2) fell 7-1 to one of the state’s top teams in Lyons. The Argonauts then wrapped up the regular season on Friday with a 4-0 win over Kennedy.

Reavis (6-10-2, 3-6-2) bounced back from the loss to upset South Suburban Red champion Shepard 1-0 in the regular-season finale Oct. 13. Diego Ochoa scored for the Rams with just 20 seconds left.

On Wednesday, Perez started the scoring in the 25th minute at SeatGeek Stadium, taking a pass from Grele and ripping in a shot from 30 yards.

In the second half, Cicha and Grele worked a nice give-and-go. Cicha’s initial shot was saved by Reavis goalkeeper Bart Obrochta.

Cicha, though, put in the rebound on a lunging header to put Argo ahead 2-0 with 27:51 to go.

Argonauts coach Carlos Marquez was pleased to see his team take control and build the two-goal lead.

“We’re young, but we have a good team,” Marquez said. “Things haven’t always gone our way this season, but we’ve been in pretty much every game we’ve played.

“We came out ready for this game. Playing against Reavis here, we were fired up. It was good to see us get the lead.”

After setting up his teammates on the first two goals, Grele got one of his own with 12:34 left, scoring off an assist from Krystof Cicha to make it 3-0.

It was Grele’s team-best 13th goal of the season.

Grele said he came into this year ready to be a leader after playing sparingly as a freshman last season.

“I took it personal over the summer,” Grele said. “I would go out to the field and practice on my own or with friends sometimes. I just felt motivated to help my team out. I knew that someone had to step up.”

Marquez has seen Grele take some big steps.

“He’s made a big jump,” Marquez said. “We needed someone to be that go-to scorer for us and he has stepped up and been that for us.”

Obrochta finished with five saves for the Rams.

Reavis could not break through on the scoreboard, however. Ahmad Suleiman and Steven Solis had scoring opportunities down the stretch, but Brant came up with saves to maintain the shutout.

Argo defenders Jose Pepe Orozco, Mohammad Hasan and Michal Gacek had big nights to shut down the Rams.

“We do really well forcing these turnovers and then our next touch gives it right back,” Reavis coach Mark Gniadek said. “Or we get in these advantageous positions and we just don’t have the experience to make the right pass or get it to the right guy.

“We’re getting there. We see improvements. We just need to see the ball go in the back of the net.”

 

Vikings win in rain
On a night when heavy rain and high winds created a wild atmosphere, St. Laurence senior forward Pedro Mendez was ready.

Mendez scored twice and added an assist as the Vikings picked up a 3-1 win on the road over a strong Bloom team on Oct. 11.

“I just want to be playing my best at the end of the season and in the playoffs,” Mendez said. “I’m trying to step up for my team and help us go a long way. I’m trying to be a leader.”

Mendez gave St. Laurence (16-2-4) an early lead, scoring from in front of the goal after the ball was knocked around following a free kick in the 12th minute.

Bloom (18-5-2) answered with a goal from Omar Ortiz and the teams went to halftime tied 1-1.

Mendez stepped up again early in the second half. He took a pass from Edgar Perez and knocked the ball into the goal to put the Vikings on top with just over 32 minutes to go.

Less than two minutes later, St. Laurence got an insurance goal when Jonathan Esparza blasted in a shot from 35 yards off a pass from Mendez.

Esparza’s goal was struck beautifully as he sent a laser into the top of the net.

“This gave us a feeling of what the playoffs would be like,” Esparza said. “It was tough competition, crazy atmosphere and all of that.

“It was good for us to play this game right before the playoffs and I’m glad we got a good win.”

St. Laurence wrapped up the regular season Thursday with a 3-0 win over Oak Lawn.

Tristan Figueroa, Antonio Garcia and Diego Lugo each scored a goal. Esparza had an assist, while Damian Ascencio and Michael Calderon combined for the shutout in goal.

 

Knights win regional
Chicago Christian won its first regional championship since 2014 with 1-0 victory over Universal in the Class 1A Chicago Christian Regional final on Oct. 14.

Junior Chad Busker scored off an assist from senior Kyle Powers, while senior goalkeeper Henry Gawron recorded the shutout.

The Knights (6-12-4) also pulled out a 1-0 win over Joliet Catholic in the regional semifinals on Oct. 11.

Busker came up with the goal in that game, as well. Junior Matt Frieling had the assist and Gawron had the shutout.

“The biggest thing is we’re communicating and we’re rotating as a collective,” Chicago Christian coach Danny Mack said. “Everyone is filling in, playing in spots. They’re working for each other, playing as a collective unit. It’s not one person standing out. It’s the entire team and everyone is stepping up.”

 

 

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