LaGRANGE — The Lyons boys soccer program will be glad if they never see another Loebig on their soccer field.
Seven years ago, Hinsdale Central’s Bryan Loebig watched his brother, Jason Loebig, blast home the only goal in a sectional championship win over the Lions on their home field.
Tuesday night it was Bryan’s turn to haunt Lyons as the two teams squared off in the Lyons Sectional semifinals. After 100 minutes of scoreless soccer, Bryan Loebig, a senior midfielder, booted in the game-clinching penalty kick as the Red Devils outscored the hosts 4-2.
“I guess there’s a little bit of family tradition to beat Lyons in the playoffs and I take a lot of pride in that,” Bryan Loebig said. “That’s definitely one of my top three soccer moments.”
Hinsdale Central’s Jack Baderman, Evan Floersch and Justin Yi all made their penalty kicks, while Red Devils goalie Wes Bergevin stopped two of four attempts. That gave Loebig the chance to lock up the sectional championship berth.
As he was getting ready for his penalty kick, Loebig thought back to advice that head coach Michael Wiggins gives regularly.
“Coach mentions one thing and he mentions it very often during practice while we take PKs and that’s routine,” Loebig said. “You have to go up with the same mentality that the ball is going to go in the back of the net.”
The Red Devils were confident that Loebig would come through.
“Every game Bryan makes plays and comes up big and [Tuesday] was no different,” Bergevin said. “He was put on the spot and executed very well.”
“I think pressure is all a matter of perspective,” Wiggins said. “In my 20 years of being a head coach I can’t think of a time we’ve been more prepared. We had an earlier win against OPRF in PKs and traditionally we have strong goal keeping.
“These guys are tested in practice and that’s what we told them: ‘You’re as prepared as can be because you see the best goalkeeping daily.’ I saw it in our posture and I saw it in the way we stepped up and the way we finished it.”
Loebig remembered every detail about his big brother’s goal during the 2007 season.
“I was on the [north] side of the stands and there was a bouncing ball that came out to him and he ripped it home top corner,” Loebig said. “Before the game he mentioned that goal to me so maybe it’s a family tradition. He told me this is one of those games that you’re going to remember for the rest of your life so I took that into account.”
Hinsdale Central advances to the sectional championship game against Morton at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Mustangs beat OPRF 5-2 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.