Boys soccer: Valparaiso goes on second-half burst to put Highland away
BY JOHN O’MALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent September 17, 2012 11:08PM
Highland's Max Young and Valparaiso's Chase Holford get tangled up in the first half Monday evening at Highland High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 19, 2012 6:17AM
HIGHLAND — It was really just a matter of time — especially when one considers the way coach Danny Jeftich’s Valparaiso team has played defense this season.
The stingy Vikings (11-1) turned up the pressure in the second half and were able to put some some separation between themselves and host Highland on their way to a 5-1 non-conference win Monday night.
After Yamen Atassi scored on a header and Brendan Sutherland found the net off an assist from Luke Kovar in the game’s first 17:23, helping the Vikings to a 2-0 halftime lead, the Trojans (4-6) closed within 2-1 as Danny Aamillo scored with an assist from Marco Guerrero at 41:41.
That’s when the Vikings put the clamps on even tighter, defensively, which also helped to create even more scoring opportunities.
“They were playing one of their midfielders up the whole time,’’ Highland coach Pere Dorsuleski said. “It was almost like they were playing three forwards. They’re a well organized team. They play good soccer. We fought hard. Until about 10 minutes into the second half, we were right with them. Their guys just took over the game after a while and they just stayed with it.’
Jeftich’s Vikings have been a very strong defensively all season.
“We’re very stingy in the back,’’ Jeftich said. “We’re really good in the back. They don’t even allow many shots -- let alone goals. I have an experienced group that plays together well. The team is very deep.’’
After Highland closed within 2-1, the Vikings scored three unanswered goals, including a pair 49 seconds apart -- one off a header by Kovar and the other unassisted by Thomas Walsh.
Issac Withrow scored Valpo’s third goal and also assisted on Kovar’s header.
“They all played hard and they usually spread the wealth,’’ Jeftich said. “We don’t have any real stars, just a bunch of kids who play hard and play well together.’’
Both teams have tough upcoming games Wednesday night. The Vikings play a key Duneland Athletic Conference game at Lake Central, while the Trojans host rival Munster in a Northwest Crossroads Conference match.
“I think it’s good to play a team like Valpo before we play a team like Munster,’’ Dorsuleski said. “It should help us. I think it’s really a positive. We just have to play hard for the full 80 minutes.’’