Timothy Christian was ready for the inevitable on Tuesday. “We spent a lot of time working on penalty kicks,” sophomore Josh Anderson said.
Practice turned the tide in the most important game of the year.
The Trojans converted all four of their penalty kicks and goalkeeper Ben Lodewyk made a spectacular block as Timothy Christian outlasted Latin 1-0 in a Class 1A Benedictine Supersectional Tuesday in Lisle.
Timothy (18-4-1) advances to the state semifinal against Harvard at the Corn Crib in Normal on Friday. The Trojans qualified for their first state finals since the 2009 squad won the Class 1A state title.
Sophomore Josh Anderson converted the game-clinching penalty. The Trojan’s fourth shooter, his blast into the lower left corner gave them their only advantage, a 4-3 edge in the shootout, the final score following Lodewyk’s block.
“My strategy there is just to pick a side and stick with it,” Anderson said. “If you try to change sides halfway through you are just going to miss it. In that situation I just thought to go with my gut and bury it.”
Lodewyk punched the Trojans’ ticket with his excellent lunging stop of the Romans’ final shooter. “I just normally look at their hips,” Lodewyk said. “If the shooters’ hips are pointing in a specific direction that is usually where they are going.
“Their last shooter was left-footed, and lefties usually push the ball so that’s where I went.”
Andrew Wieringa, Tyler Vlasak and Mitch Evenhouse converted their shots for the Trojans. “When I saw everybody on our side making shots, that just pumped me up,” Lodewyk said.
First-year Timothy coach Joe Grit anticipated the action. “Latin is a very good team, but I felt confident when it went to (penalty kicks),” he said. “Both teams were cramping and tired and I could see it going that route.
“The last week of practice anybody that wanted shoot penalty kicks, I made them hit 10 before they could leave practice. I told them at the time they might not understand it, but this is why.”
The two programs played a much more open game during the season that Timothy won 4-3. Latin (17-7-1) enjoyed superior possession time and generated far more corner kicks and direct balls.
Timothy’s back proved unsolvable.
“The wide open game is during this season, and tournament soccer is much different,” Latin coach Tom Bower said. “Both teams really played hard and contested everything and did not give up an inch out there and that is why there weren’t many scoring opportunities.”
Latin did not concede a goal in its five tournament games.
“It has been a goal and dream of theirs since they were young,” Grit said.