Lincoln-Way West advances to final of Lincoln-Way Invitational

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After missing wide on a golden scoring chance late in Thursday’s match with Sandburg, Lincoln-Way West’s Ian McGrath’s frustration was obvious as he lowered his head in disbelief.

Less than a minute later, redemption never felt sweeter.

McGrath took a long pass from Dan Petrou and placed a shot inside the left post for the only goal of the night as the Warriors knocked off the Eagles 1-0 in a Lincoln-Way Invitational semifinal in New Lenox.

“I’m speechless,” McGrath said. “This is one of the greatest moments of my soccer career. I knew I could get (a goal). It’s incredible. It’s one of the greatest moments in Lincoln-Way West soccer history.”

The sequence that led to the goal started with a scramble in the Sandburg box that resulted in the ball coming out to Petrou 50 yards away from the net.

“When Dan got the ball, I knew he could place it,” McGrath said. “He played a perfect ball. I saw (Sandburg goalie Alan Garcia) starting to come out but then he stopped so I decided not to go for the chip and just aimed inside the post.”

The goal, which came with 2:30 left in the match, sent the Warriors (6-2-2) into Saturday’s championship against Lincoln-Way East.

Tony Prospero (3 saves) came up huge twice for Lincoln-Way West. He made a save on a Joseph Labriola shot in the eighth minute and denied a great look from Przemyslaw Tylka with 21:42 left in the match.

“Oh my gosh, the first time we’ve ever beaten Sandburg,” Prospero said. “It means the world to us. Our defenders Johnny Farrell, Adam Webb, Kevin Staniszewski and Tim Cucci, they worked their butts off.”

Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume was disappointed in his team’s play late.

“Just mental lapses,” he said. “We weren’t picking up our marks. We struggled with that most of the game. It seemed like a lot of us had an off day.”

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