CRYSTAL LAKE – A year ago, Crystal Lake South’s Nick Langdon watched his penalty kick bounce off the crossbar of the south goal at Prairie Ridge. Last year, South fell short trying to knock off a Prairie Ridge team that was unbeaten at the time.
On Monday, Langdon had his chance at redemption. When South drew a penalty kick at the south goal, coach Brian Allen called on Langdon.
The senior defender pounded this one in, his second goal of the day, in South’s 5-2 Fox Valley Conference victory over Prairie Ridge.
“Langdon had some demons from last year,” Allen said. “The minute we got that, I knew he was going to be the guy that we called upon.”
Langdon hadn’t scored a goal this season in South’s eight previous matches.
“It feels super good, especially since it’s conference,” Langdon said. “You always want to get on the right foot. Any way I can help my team, I’m just glad to at this point.”
South (8-0-1, 1-0 FVC) remains unbeaten. Prairie Ridge (1-3, 0-1) dropped what also was its conference opener.
The Gators scored the game’s first four goals. Alex Canfield also scored twice. Ryan Coughlin scored and had an assist.
Langdon scored his first goal on a corner kick that was deflected by Prairie Ridge goalkeeper Owen Erickson. Langdon headed it over the defense.
“[Allen’s] just been getting on us all game to find the seems and shake the defender off,” Langdon said. “I was mainly focused on getting free and then the goalie just punched it out right to my head. I just lobbed it over them.”
Being primarily a defender, Langdon doesn’t have many scoring chances. Set pieces provide an opportunity, however. Allen said Langdon’s soccer IQ “is just off the charts.”
“He sees the game so well, he anticipates the game so well,” Allen said. “He’s one of the smartest players, if not the smartest player, I’ve ever coached in 12 years. To have him be the quarterback in back, and do different things, pick and choose his moments to go forward – he just changes the complexion of the game.”
Canfield scored the game’s first goal and added another one to make it 4-0. On Canfield's second goal, Wolves goalkeeper Adrian Kochmanski made the save on Canfield’s initial shot, but Canfield beat him to the rebound and knocked it in.
“It’s almost like you see it out of his hands and you just go for it,” Canfield said. “You don’t really have too much time to think about it.”
Canfield leads South with 14 goals on the season.
Michael Thompson and Jonathan Walls scored goals for Prairie Ridge.
“[Our coaches] really told us that we need to focus on working together in games and focusing on our fitness,” Walls said.
STAR OF THE GAME
Nick Langdon, Crystal Lake South, sr., D
Langdon scored two goals for the Gators. Langdon hadn’t scored a goal in South’s previous eight matches.
2: Langdon and Alex Canfield each scored two goals in the Gators victory.
AND ANOTHER THING …
“We created a lot of chances, which was good to see,” South coach Brian Allen said. “We weren’t as efficient as we could have been, but we were efficient enough. Any time you put five (goals) up, you’re going to be happy with that.”
Crystal Lake South 5, Prairie Ridge 2
CLS 3 2 – 5
PR 0 2 – 2
CLS – Canfield (R. Coughlin), 15th minute.
CLS – Langdon, 16th minute.
CLS – R. Coughlin (Weidner), 37th minute.
CLS – Canfield, 51st minute.
PR – Thompson (Smeja), 52nd minute.
CLS – Langdon (PK), 61st minute.
PR – Walls, 79th minute.
Goalkeeper saves – Crystal Lake South: McCaleb 4, Estrada 4. Prairie Ridge: Erickson 7, Kochmanski 5.