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Boys soccer: Valpo needs penalty kicks to edge Munster

Valparaiso's Chase Holford Luke Kovar Caleb Neal John Christodoulakis Issac Withrow run keeper Ethan Lehnen after he blocked last Munster

Valparaiso's Chase Holford, Luke Kovar, Caleb Neal, John Christodoulakis and Issac Withrow run to keeper Ethan Lehnen after he blocked the last Munster penalty kick attempt for the regional semifinal win Thursday evening at Merrillville High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 13, 2012 6:38AM



MERRILLVILLE — Valparaiso senior keeper Ethan Lehnen isn’t very large in stature.

But he came up huge in goal on Thursday night, stopping three of five penalty kicks as the Vikings downed Munster 3-2 in their Merrillville Regional semifinal.

Lehnen stopped penalty kicks by Demetri Georgalas, Alex Sikora and Daniel Rigg to send his team to Saturday’s championship match.

“Hey, that was the easy part,” Lehnen joked. “We work on that every day in practice. Our captain, Tommy (Billings) has had a tough year; we really wanted to win this for him.”

Valparaiso (17-2) drew first blood on their first shot on goal as John Christodoulakis took a feed from Yamen Atassi and beat Mustangs’ keeper Evan Kattan.

Munster answered one minute later on a tip in by Nick Cossyleon on an assist from Sikora.

The Vikings duo struck again with 5:21 left in the game to give the Vikings a 2-1 advantage. Christodoulakis put a ball past Kattan as the Mustangs keeper made the initial save but failed to smother the shot. The play was set up by a rush by Atassi who recorded his second assist.

Cossyleon sent the game to overtime with 39 seconds left in regulation time on a feed from Sikora. The Mustangs (12-5-1) got goals on penalty kicks by Cossyleon and Ryan Shmagranoff and Valparaiso had penalty kick goals from Chase Holford, Luke Kovar and the game-winner by Issac Withrow.

“We’ve won games like this in the past, said Vikings’ coach Danny Jeftich. “Sometimes you just think its destiny. We let up the tying score with 40 seconds left in a back and forth game.

“I’m an emotional coach and I’ve been with these guys almost every day since June 1. We have eight seniors and I just looked up and said, ‘Lord, please give us a shot to play on Saturday.’ Our kids are warriors. Yamen (Atassi) is playing with a cast on his arm. I told Ethan (Lehnen) if he stops one, we win.”



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