Lincoln-Way Central keeps cruising with win over Lincoln-Way East

For the first 20 minutes Thursday night, Lincoln-Way East did a good job keeping the red-hot offense of rival Lincoln-Way Central in check.

But the Knights, who entered the night averaging five goals a game in their last six outings – all wins – wouldn’t be held down for long.

Jacob Lysik started the scoring with his 27th goal of the season, Tyler Massa added two to bring his total to 28 and Central continued its surge with a 4-2 SouthWest Suburban Red win in New Lenox.

“It’s been fun lately,” Central coach Sean Fahey said. “Obviously when you have two guys like Jake and Tyler playing so well and with so much confidence, that’s a luxury. It’s not just them, though. It’s the whole team and it’s a great thing we have going here because it’d be easy to say ‘It’s just about Jacob and Tyler’ but no one on this team is saying that.”

Lysik and Massa always seem to find each other and that was the case on the first goal of the night in the 21st minute as Knights goalkeeper Isaac Hopper sent a goal kick to midfield, where Massa won it and sent a pass ahead to Lysik, who got behind the defense and scored for Central (11-4, 2-0).

Danny Flores scored eight minutes later, taking a Massa pass and burying a shot under the crossbar from 25 yards out.

“I just brought it down and took a shot and it went off the bottom of the crossbar and in,” Flores, a sophomore, said. “It’s been a great experience playing with these seniors and I love the way we’re playing lately.”

Massa scored both of the Knights’ second-half goals, converting a penalty kick that he drew for the first.

“I feel like we’ve finally put it all together lately and we’re playing great right now,” Massa said. “We feel like we can beat anybody if we keep playing like this.”

East (2-10, 0-1) scored twice in the final nine minutes as Blake Tempel converted a penalty kick and Joel Seielstad added a goal.

Isaac Hopper made four saves for Central.

The teams are likely to meet again in the postseason as seeds for the Class 3A Sandburg Sectional were released earlier Thursday, with the Knights earning the No. 3 seed and the Griffins seeded 14th.

“If you watch the run of play, it was fairly even,” East coach Ryan Decker said. “But we don’t defend well in the last 18 (yards) and we don’t convert when we get those chances. That’s huge. I thought we did an alright job the first 20 minutes, then the last 20 (of the first half) we really played poorly.”

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