HUNTLEY – Dundee-Crown midfielder Sam Lopez watched everyone move forward toward the ball as teammate Roland Dearborn took the corner kick.
“I stayed back," Lopez said. "Just saw the ball coming toward me and I had to take it calmly. Pure joy for my team. Not just me, I felt the energy with the whole crew.”
Lopez’s header ricocheted off the left goal post, hit Huntley goalkeeper Lucas Clemetsen, and wound up in the back of the net with 36.4 seconds remaining in the game’s second overtime. Dundee-Crown took home a 1-0 Fox Valley Conference victory. The match was 36 seconds from ending in a scoreless draw.
“This was our last chance,” Dearborn said. “I don’t know how much time was on the board, but I knew it was really low. I needed to focus on the corner, find somebody’s head and luckily it found Sam’s head and we got the goal.”
Though the game had been scoreless for more than 99 minutes of play, it was far from uneventful.
D-C goalkeeper Damian Smiech had to make nine saves. His counterpart, Huntley’s Clemetsen, made 15 saves.
The D-C bench received two yellow cards midway through the second half, which earned coach Rey Vargas a red card and an ejection.
“After that, we were like, ‘We really have to do this now,’” Dearborn said. “Sometimes things happen in the game and we can’t tell coach to calm down, he tells us to calm down. If we get ejected. It’s bad for us. We just have to stay calm, keep playing.”
D-C (4-1-1, 1-0 FVC) wasn’t happy with how it played in the first half. The Chargers had only two shots on goal. They bombarded Clemetsen in the second half and both overtime periods.
“We had a great win on Friday,” D-C assistant coach Sebastian Falinski said. “Saturday couldn’t practice, Monday couldn’t practice because of the weather. We just showed up flat, sloppy, not hungry.”
Huntley (0-5, 0-1 FVC) hung around and nearly scored on the free kick following Vargas’ ejection. Rory Hicks’ shot grazed the top of the crossbar. A Red Raiders’ corner kick in the first overtime period missed the goal by inches.
With no penalty kick shootouts in FVC play, D-C’s goal came at the last possible moment for the Chargers to avoid a draw in their conference opener.
“We were playing pretty bad in the first half,” Lopez said. “Second half we picked it up. It was tough toward the last few minutes, but we kept [Huntley] off and we got that shot off, got the W.”
Huntley coach Kris Grabner was impressed with Clemetsen.
“Unbelievably athletic,” Grabner said. “I don’t think he even saw how athletic he was tonight. There’s balls where he’ll jump and he just hangs there. He covers way over the top of the crossbar.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Sam Lopez, Dundee-Crown, sr., M
Lopez scored the game-winning goal with 36.4 seconds remaining in the second overtime against Huntley. With no penalty kick shootout in Fox Valley Conference play, the game was seconds away from being a 0-0 draw.
99: The teams played 99 scoreless minutes before Lopez’s goal gave D-C a win in its FVC opener.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Huntley coach Kris Grabner felt his defense played "significantly better" than it had in previous games.
"I felt like we did a really good job of pushing their attack wide, slowing them down and getting a balance to our defense," Grabner said.
Dundee-Crown 1, Huntley 0
D-C 0 0 0 1 – 1
Hunt 0 0 0 0 – 0
D-C – Lopez (Dearborn), :36.4.
Goalkeeper saves – Smiech (D-C) 9, Clemetsen (Hunt) 15.