Sandburg senior Thomas Nie didn’t like the taste of the upset being brewed by Brother Rice.
Trailing 1-0 in Tuesday’s Class 3A Lincoln-Way North semifinal with less than four minutes to go, Nie was able to cleanse his palate by ripping a goal to force overtime. Minutes later, he found the back of the net again, propelling Sandburg to a 2-1 victory and a trip to the regional finals.
“We were all shaken,” Nie said. “We were all scared to death losing in the first round to a No. 18 seed when we’re No. 2. We just did not want that to happen.”
Playing in cold and rainy conditions, Nie’s overtime goal came on a rebound from a shot by Przemyslaw Tylka.
“I knew it was wet and I thought the goalie might fumble it,” Nie said. “Thankfully he did and I was able to put it away.”
Sandburg (14-6) meets Reavis (14-6-2) 6 p.m. Friday at Lincoln-Way North for the regional title.
Brother Rice sophomore Carlos Gonzalez, who had a pair of goals in a quarterfinal win over Lincoln-Way North, catalyzed the Rice (7-9-3) scoring with an assist to Oscar Garcia. Gonzalez blew by the Sandburg defense with 11:59 remaining in the second half and hit Garcia for a well-placed header.
Gonzalez had one last chance to score in the waning seconds of overtime, but Sandburg keeper Alan Garcia blocked the shot in traffic to preserve the win.
“Nine out of 10 times, the team that has the momentum or ties the score wins it,” Rice coach Nick Markulin said. “We just made mistakes by not clearing space. I’m disappointed for the kids.”
Reavis 1, Eisenhower 0
Jose Estrada is one of the top goal scorers in the Southland for good reason.
He’s fast, he’s got serious striking skills and he’s the beneficiary of some clever plays via Reavis coach Robert Morack.
Estrada scored the lone goal, his 23rd of the season, in Tuesday’s contest against Eisenhower on a nifty direct kick, sending Reavis to the Class 3A Lincoln-Way North Regional finals against Sandburg.
“We’ve been working on a few plays with Jose and some of the other forwards,” Morack said. “I think that was the best ball he’s ever hit.”
The score saw two Reavis players fake attempts before Estrada rolled in and delivered a high strike to the corner of the net.
“I like that play a lot because it confuses the goalkeeper,” Estrada said. “It means a lot for my goal to send us on, but it’s not just my goal, it’s the teams.”
With 15 minutes remaining, Eisenhower (8-11-2) put an additional forward up front but couldn’t capitalizeon the pressure brought by senior Josue Leal.