New Trier wanted to sustain its fast start. Highland Park was eager to live up to its coach’s expectations.
The Trevians had the early advantage, putting the Giants on their heels with a beautiful counterattack. “They are really dangerous because they are big and fast, and they make two passes and they are really going forward,” Highland Park coach Blake Novotny said.
Highland Park refused to yield to the early pressure and played the No. 5 Trevians even in fighting through for the 1-1 draw in a Central Suburban crossover Thursday in Northfield.
Highland Park standout defender Zach Kohn helped neutralize or at least slow the dangerous attack and Highland Park found confidence and a sharper rhythm the longer the game wore on.
“This was probably the best effort we’ve had the last couple of games, in terms of how cohesive our attack was,” Novotny said. “We are doing a better job of possessing the ball, moving without the ball, the big area where we continue to struggle is the final [scoring] third, that is still a struggle for us.”
Highland Park senior goalie Carlos Pineda recorded seven saves, several of the spectacular variety, like an early diving stop of a Trevian header in the box. His aggressive style of play of runing off his own line, potentially dangerous, kept the Trevians at bay most of the night.
“It was a 50-50 game, and they really pressured us and came at us,” Pineda said. “We’re more of a technical team, because we don’t have a lot of size. Most teams play that big through ball to their fast forwards and I think goalies always have to be prepared to come off the line.”
The Trevians (6-1-2) struck first with its brother combination as sophomore Matt Gallo served a ball to the back post that his brother Michael Gallo, a junior forward, finished with a header inside int he 23rd minute.
To its credit, Highland Park (2-3-3) did not wilt under the accumulating pressure. Just five minutes later, sophomore forward Tommy Quirk, who’s very dangerous on set piees, launched a throw in that junior defender Eamonn Moore collected on the near post and finished in the 28th minute.
“I knew that Tommy had a a very long throw,” Moore said. “I was just standing where I expected the ball to come and it bounced all around and it fell right to me and I put it in.
“At first nobody knew it was a goal.”
That marked the end of the scoring, though the balance of the game featured strong play from both sides. New Trier appeared to go ahead in the 47th minute on a blast by Duncan Gill but the goal was waved off by an offsides call.
Highland Park’s Ian Valadez made a couple of striking plays around the net that were turned away by Trevians’ keeper Jonathan Jaggard.
“We were all over them the first 10 minutes, and then because of some injuries, we lost some of our momentum,” New Trier coach Wesley Molyneaux said. “Both teams had chances in that second half even though neither one of us could put one in.
“Obviously you’d like to win the game but a tie is not a bad result when you look at the overall scope of the game and how back and forth it was.”