Lyons Township’s soccer team stayed alive in the hunt for this year’s West Suburban Conference, Silver Division title, thanks first to Elliot Borge and then to Max Hadley.
Midfielder and senior Borge netted the game’s lone goal in Tuesday’s 1-0 win for LT over visiting Hinsdale Central, streaking into the penalty area on the left side, taking a feed from Brett Heimerdinger, and sending it inside the far post at 50 minutes.
Hadley secured the win by saving a Red Devils penalty kick attempt in the game’s waning minutes. Lyons Township (8-4-3, 3-1 in WSS play) and Hinsdale Central (8-7-2, 2-2) entered the game as two of five teams with a single conference loss.
“It’s never going to be easy,” LT coach Paul Labbato said of playing Hinsdale Central. “It’s one of the oldest rivalries in the state and we want it to be about rivalry and passion, and all of that.”
All of that passion peaked when the Red Devils earned a penalty kick, only to see Hadley avert the potentially tying goal, diving to his right and smothering the attempt.
“I just guessed right. It was more instinct than anything,” Hadley said. “You just kind of have to make a decision and stick with it. It felt amazing, and then the biggest thing on my mind was ‘lets not get scored on’.”
Labbato was particularly pleased with the play of his defense, which implemented a new formation on short notice.
“We went to four defenders because (Hinsdale Central) plays with three forwards,” Labbato said. “We took one of our forwards, Spiro Kass, and moved him to right back and he did great. The whole back line played great.”
Kass, Kevin Shaw, Ben Larson, and Matt Thomas defended well in helping to earn the team’s 7th shutout of the season.
An estimated 900 fans showed up in LaGrange for the annual contest on Tuesday. The win for the Lions also allowed them to keep ownership of this year’s Silver Brick trophy, given annually to game’s winner in the storied rivalry.
The game is played to honor the American Youth Soccer Organization, Region 300, which feeds both high school programs.
“Honoring that connection between our programs and the community is what drives this game each year,” Red Devils coach Mike Wiggins said. “We’re excited about seeing these young kids on a regular basis.
“This is a rivalry that goes back a long, long time. You can talk to guys from the ‘70’s that played in this game and they’ll still come back and share those stories.”