MUNDELEIN — North Suburban Conference defenders may want to start marking Stevenson boys soccer player Dennis Katsman.
The Patriots junior scored a momentum-changing goal for the second game in a row Tuesday. Katsman broke a scoreless tie early in the second half against Mundelein, putting away a pass from senior midfielder Ethan Marx. The goal held up as the Patriots beat the Mustangs 1-0 for their third victory in a row and a second consecutive impressive NSC road victory.
“I was screaming for the ball because I knew no one was guarding me. [Marx] gave me the ball and I put it in,” Katsman said. “I couldn’t have scored without my teammates.”
The scoring sequence began from the Patriots’ back row less than two minutes into the second half.
Marx corralled a long ball in the center of the field, several yards in front of the Mustangs’ goal box. As he dribbled toward the 18-yard box, Katsman ran wide to Marx’s left. Marx delivered a perfect pass to Katsman, whose shot from outside the left post rolled past Mustangs goalkeeper Donnie Kvien and found the net just inside the right post.
Katsman’s emerging penchant for game-changing goals was hatched Saturday against Lake Zurich. With the Patriots down 2-1 late in the second half, Katsman scored unassisted to even the score. Marx’s second-half goal to make it 3-2 proved to be the game-winner.
Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said Katsman — making his third start of the season against Mundelein — is a vigorous practice player.
“He’s probably as close to a forward in his designs of his runs and timing as anyone on our team. He’s worked really hard at it,” Schartner said. “Practice effort is real important to our team. Everybody is buying in.”
Stevenson controlled the run of play Tuesday night under the lights. If not for the splendid play of Kvien, the Patriots’ margin of victory would have been much wider. An apparent goal from senior Mitch Gullett with 11:40 left in the game was waived off after a Patriots foul.
Seniors Armando Gomez and Mason Homsey are catalysts of Mundelein’s recent surge. Heading into the Stevenson game, the two had combined for 23 goals and nine assists. But tight marking by Patriots senior defenders Max Warren and Thomas Ricchio reduced the duo’s chances. Gomez’s shot with eight minutes remaining sailed inches past the right post. It was the final scoring chance of the game for Mundelein.
The loss all but eliminated the Mustangs (9-4-3, 3-2) from the conference race.
“We had good opportunities. Our players played tough. We just couldn’t finish,” Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. “We showed a lot of resolve. This is tough as I want our boys to be successful.”