ALGONQUIN – Dundee-Crown junior Danny Perez came into the game late, and played for only 7 or 8 minutes, yet he delivered with one huge play Tuesday against Jacobs.
Perez followed a hard shot from midfielder Gerardo Estrada toward the net, just as he was instructed.
“We told them to keep following balls, you never know what’s going to happen with this weather, slippery hands, nobody can get a handle on the ball,” D-C coach Rey Vargas said. “He was in the right place at the right time.”
Perez tucked in the rebound in the 74th minute and the Chargers held on for a 4-3 victory in their Fox Valley Conference boys soccer game played in a steady rain at Jacobs. The win gives D-C (17-0-2 overall, 8-0-0 FVC) the outright conference championship and an undefeated regular season.
The win also means D-C wins the Indian Cup from the Hononegah Tournament earlier this season. The two reached the championship match and agreed to just settle that title in the FVC game.
“We had so much on the line,” said Chargers forward Julian Ajroja, who scored their first two goals. “We wanted (the FVC) by ourselves and we put in the work and we did it. It’s going to be a heck of a memory.”
Perez did not want to take too much credit for the game-winner. Estrada lined up a hard shot just outside the goal box straight in front that deflected off Jacobs goalkeeper Anthony Riportella’s hands.
“I was always ready to play and gave it my best,” he said. “Anyone could have had the opportunity. When (Estrada) shot the ball and it deflected off his hands and I just ran in and was right there. The weather conditions were bad and it bounced off his gloves and I was there. We did it as a team, we went undefeated.”
Jacobs (12-6-2, 6-2) could have tied the Chargers for the FVC title with a victory. The Golden Eagles fell behind 3-1 in the first half after Ajroja’s two goals and another goal from Mario Solano, whose crossing pass skipped off a Jacobs’ defender’s head and over Riportella.
The Eagles got a goal from Joey Berreles and another off a penalty kick from Colin Walsh. Noah Melick then scored off an assist from Walsh to tie the score. Jacobs, which has shown a penchant for comebacks, felt another was eminent.
“We created plenty of opportunities to win the game,” Jacobs coach A.J. Cappello said. “It was a great game. We had enough chances. Dundee-Crown played great, the deserve the result.”
Melick got another good look with a hard shot in the final minutes, but keeper Damian Smiech knocked it away and D-C kept the defending champion Eagles from taking a share of the title.
“I told the guys not to give up (when Jacobs tied it at 3-3),” Ajroja said. “You think the other team’s got the momentum, but we had to switch it back around and had the momentum on them.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Dundee-Crown, Sr., Forward
Ajroja ran down a long pass from Gerardo Estrada for the Chargers’ first goal, then gave them a 2-0 lead off an assist from Ivan Juanchi on a scramble inside the goal box, both in the first half.
8: Saves for D-C goalkeeper Damian Smiech.
AND ANOTHER THING...
In September, the two teams reached the championship of Hononegah’s tournament and agreed not to play that game. Instead, their FVC game would also serve as the Indian Cup championship. “We knew we’d possibly see each other in the sectional, so with that possibility we didn’t want to play three times,” D-C coach Rey Vargas said. “We figured we’d just wait.”
Dundee-Crown 4, Jacobs 3
Dundee-Crown 3 1 - 4
Jacobs 1 2 - 3
DC-Julian Ajroja (Gerardo Estrada).
DC-Ajroja (Ivan Juanchi).
J-Joey Berreles (Dan Buirge).
J-Noah Melick (Walsh).
Goalkeeper saves: Damian Smiech (D-C) 8, Anthony Riportella (Jacobs) 2.