By Scott Taylor | @Taylor_Sports
Plainfield South got revenge from an earlier tournament loss by beating Joliet Central in a Southwest Prairie Conference match 1-0 in a shootout after neither team could score in 100 minutes.
“They got us in the second of two games that day and I thought we were a little tired,” South coach Bryant Williams said of the first game. “We were missing a couple starters in that game and on even footing, we could give them a good game.”
The win was a welcome change of events for the Cougars after a pair of tough conference losses the previous week.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit recently,” Williams said. “We lost to Oswego East 3-2 on a goal with 57 seconds left. We lost in PKs to Plainfield Central. We preached about coming back this week to a new week and a new start. We changed formations and looked to starting the season over almost and the guys responded well.”
Those tough losses made it even more important to come out ahead in a close game as the season winds down.
“This was a big win to get,” Williams said. “It was one of those where if you don’t get the win in a close game, it is going to be really hard to get back on track the rest of the season. The boys really hung in there tough and a lot of credit to our keeper Mitch (Deacon), who was playing in replace of Frank Lomeli and he did a great job, beyond what I could have expected.”
Williams is in his first year at the helm, but had been an assistant the previous three years, which has helped with the transition.
“On the field and strategically it has been pretty smooth,” Williams said. “There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff like paperwork that takes up a lot of time. But the guys have really accepted me as a coach but I knew the boys and have had a comfort level with them. It has been fun.”
The game against Joliet Central was a typical game where the defense kept the team in the game, while the offense couldn’t take advantage of opportunities.
“We have struggled a bit up front, but have been pretty solid in the back with our four seniors,” Williams said. “As far as goal-scoring goals, we’re a little young, so we still get a little nervous when we get the ball up there. We’ve been working on relaxing and putting the ball on frame. Otherwise, we’re knocking the ball all over the place. As we get more experienced, I think those plays will come for us. We’re trying to work on placement in practice.”
Plainfield South will get a rematch with Plainfield Central in the opening round of the regional. South is the No. 18 seed and Central No. 15 in the Bolingbrook Sectional. The winner will take on No. 2 Naperville Central at 5 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Geneva Regional.
“We are historically in one of the toughest sectionals in Illinois,” Williams said. “We have the Neuqa Valleys and the Naperville schools, Benet Academy. We are in a tough sectional, but it is an opportunity to come out and surprise some people.”