The early soccer season is often governed by nerves and mistakes that result from trying to do too much.
Dan Norton was certainly anxious.
The Wheaton North senior midfielder watched conference rival Lake Park drill his team by a combined 8-1 in two games last year.
“We’re kind of rivals with them,” he said.
An early scoring opportunity was nullified when he was cited for being offsides. He knew other chances were likely.
Late in the first half, Norton delivered by collecting a beautiful through ball on the right edge and finishing a one touch from 19 yards out that propelled the Falcons past the No. 12 Lancers 1-0 in Lake Park’s own tournament Thursday night in Roselle.
Reserve senior midfielder Jack Williams played the through ball in the 38th minute for his first assist of the year for the Falcons (3-1-1). Norton recorded his third goal of the season.
“After we settled down, we took control a little more and that helped us score a goal,” he said.
“We got the ball wide, and Jack played a really good through pass and I made a touch and got it past the keeper,” Norton said of the goal.
Defensively, the Falcons contained Lake Park’s (3-1-1) explosive senior midfielder Oliver Horgan, who scored 17 goals for last year’s Lancers team that won 21 games and finished fourth in the Class 3A state tournament.
Horgan elevated for headers inside the box three separate times in the second half only to watch his attempts sail high.
Zach Oslund, a physical 6-4 defender, frustrated Horgan.
“Last year we lost 4-0 against them in the tournament, and this was our first chance to prove we’re a better team,” Oslund said.
“We have a lot of seniors who have been playing together for a long time and we just wanted to make sure with [Horgan], that we kept communicating on defense, have a man on him and not let him get free in space.”
In the closing seconds Horgan appeared uncovered, but Armand Torrez made a sharp recovery from the backside and cleared the ball to preserve the victory.
“We weren’t focused,” Horgan said.“We were one step behind and couldn’t do anything.”