The hardest part of soccer is the waiting, or overcoming the anxiousness of knowing something positive is in grasp and know when to seize the opportunity.
After a series of big moves and counter attacks yielded dramatic moments though denied a decisive action, Patrick Duncan patiently waited for his moment. Everything flowed just right, as though it were perfectly diagrammed.
The 6-3Lyonssenior forward caught a perfect cross in stride from senior forward Cole Gilchrist and punched home the game-winner from about 18 yards out as No. 4Lyonsclipped No. 6 New Trier 1-0 in a PepsiCo Showdown semifinalSaturdayatLyonsin LaGrange.
The Lions (11-2) won their sixth straight game and earned a trip to the championship against No. 3 Morton in a rematch of the 2012 title game.
In a showdown of the two of the state’s most physical and unrelenting defensive programs,Lyonsstrung together a peerless counter in the 64th minute initiated by senior midfielder Henry Hilling. He advanced the ball down the middle and left a ball on the right flank to Gilchrist.
“We were pressuring all game, and it was comming, we could feel it,” Duncan said. “I just sat back and let Cole run at them, because that’s what he does best. Harry handed it off to him, Cole did all the work and he was able to get it to me.
“I was ecstatic.”
New Trier acknowledged the strength of the scoring sequence. “It was really well done,” New Trier defender Tim Moriarty said. “They slipped it right across the top of the 18 and put it right away.”
New Trier (9-2-2) matched the Lions stride for stride. Goalie Jonathan Jaggard recorded two superb stops in the 40th minute that preserved the scoreless tie at the break.
The teams shared possession time equally and New Trier generated several strong scoring thrusts, the most promising a series of close range balls by senior forward Duncan Gill in the 48th minute that Lions’ goalie Donald Durras made consecutive stops, including one with his right leg.
“I usually make those, and it was tough, because we only had a few chances and that was the difference in the game,” Gill said.
Durras registered nine saves for the Lions. He also stopped a free kick by Steven Childs and a pincer move and hard ball from New Trier forward Tommy Belliel in the 75th minute. “It was a great game and both teams played extraordinarily well,” New Trier coach Wes Molyneaux said.
“Even though part of the first half was played in the rain, you really saw the offensively skilled players on both sides really shine. They had some good scoring chacnes and they put theirs away and we missed some of ours.”