Boys soccer: Valparaiso falls short at Warsaw Semistate
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or email@example.com October 20, 2012 11:38PM
Valparaiso midfielder John Christodoulakis pops the ball upfield during the IHSAA boys soccer semi-state Saturday Oct. 20, 2012 in Warsaw, Ind.|Joe Raymond ~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:57AM
WARSAW — Conceding the first goal makes mounting a comeback challenging enough. Conceding a second, especially against a quality opponent? It really becomes an uphill climb.
Such was the scenario on Saturday for the Valparaiso boys soccer team, which fell 2-0 to Hamilton Southeastern in the semifinals of the Class 2A Warsaw Semistate.
“You’re chasing the game,” Vikings coach Danny Jeftich said. “At this level, it’s draining emotionally and physically.”
Valparaiso (18-3) seemed to be controlling the tempo at the game’s outset. But largely against the run of play, Hamilton Southeastern (12-7-3) struck first. The Royals took advantage of the Vikings’ inability to clear a throw-in, with Kyle Butler collecting the ball and finding the back of the net less than 10 minutes in
“We missed an assignment on the throw-in,” said Jeftich, who actually didn’t think his team was sharp for the opening 15 to 20 minutes. “It stunned us. But we continued to play. We played better and moved the ball in the second half.”
Senior sweeper Chase Holford said of the goal: “It was a lack of a clearance. We let it go through about three guys.”
Played evened out after Hamilton Southeastern scored. Then, with 10:46 showing on the first-half clock, Valparaiso was called for a handball in the penalty box, with Zach Eagle burying the penalty kick.
“The PK was a downer,” Jeftich said. “I didn’t really see what happened. But at this level, they usually don’t call it if it was unintentional. But they called it.”
Said Holford: “It was really a killer.”
The Vikings tried to rally from the deficit, particularly ratcheting up the pressure over the last 25 minutes of the second half, pushing players forward. But they couldn’t break through.
“We put in a lot of work, and it really culminated well,” Holford — one of eight seniors on the Valparaiso roster, including six starters — said of the season. “We wanted to go further, of course. But it was a good result.”
The Vikings won their first regional title since 2005 — winning both games in that round in penalty kicks — after tying with Crown Point for the Duneland Conference title.
“We grinded out the last couple games,” Jeftich said. “A lot of people didn’t think we’d make it this far.
“We represented Northwest Indiana with a lot of pride. A lot of teams would’ve liked to have been here. Coming into today, I thought we had a good chance to advance. But I’m proud of what we accomplished. We showed the program is still up there. I feel for the seniors, I’ll miss them.”