Just 17 days after falling to Pana 3-0 at Terry Todt Field in Raymond, the Lincolnwood High School soccer team traveled to the Panthers' home field for their opening game of regionals.
With the loser done for the season, the Lancers struck first and never trailed on Friday, Oct. 11, as they ended Pana's season with a 2-1 victory.
"Everyone was saying how they were so much better than you. It would have been easy to just not show up," Coach Joe Webb said after the game. "But you didn't do that and I couldn't be more proud."
The underdog as the tenth seed to the seventh seeded Panthers, Lincolnwood came onto the field and delivered the proverbial punch in the mouth to the home team just 46 seconds into the game. On a pass from Evan Hopper, Levi Weir chipped a shot over the Pana keeper's head that slipped in under the bar and made it 1-0 before a minute had ticked off the clock.
While it's unknown if the Pana keeper, Bradyn Fisher, would have been able to stop the shot if he'd have been on his line, that option was taken out of his hands in part due to the moat-like area in front of the goal mouth. The standing water pushed Fisher further out and allowed Weir to capitalize.
Lincolnwood wasn't ready to settle for just one goal as they put attempt after attempt on net during the first half. Fisher would make a save on a header by Hopper just three minutes after Weir's goal, followed by a shot by the Lincolnwood senior on a breakaway feed from Elijah Aumann that went just over the bar.
While the Lancers would hold possession in the Pana offensive end for most of the first half, when the Panthers did break free, Lincolnwood goalie Austin Gwinn was there. The junior keeper made a lunging save to deny a sure goal with 11 minutes left in the half, then repeated the feat five minutes later by knocking a Pana breakaway out of bounds, which resulted in Lincolnwood clearing the ball out of danger on the ensuing corner kick.
While it wouldn't come as early as Weir's goal, Lincolnwood added to their lead early in the second 40 minute period.
Hopper would try to chip a shot on net, but the attempt glanced off a Pana defender to the feet of Benny Clavin. The Nokomis junior, who plays via the co-op with Lincolnwood, hammered home the insurance goal to make it 2-0 with 29:52 to play in the game.
Pana would pull one back eight minutes later when Jace Christer knocked in a rebound after Gwinn made the initial stop on a hard, low shot.
But the Lancers were barely tested after that. A defensive group led by Sam Terneus, Gavin Lipe, Wyatt Kistner, Natalia Cina and Braden Whalen would limit Pana's chances on net and keep the ball in Lincolnwood's possession.
As the final horn sounded, the Lancers celebrated the extension of their season, which will continue on their home field on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
If Friday's game was an upset, a win on Wednesday would be the equivalent of David beating Goliath as the Lancers welcome Sacred Heart-Griffin to Terry Todt Field in Raymond. The Cyclones are 13-7-1 this year, with losses to teams like Dunlap, Rochester and Quincy Notre Dame.
Still, the Lancers will be on their home field and will have the momentum of Friday's win behind them as they try for a berth in the regional championship game on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m.
October 10 at Williamsville
Lincolnwood 0 0 - 0
Williamsville 4 5 - 9
October 11 at Pana
Class 1A Lincolnwood Regional
Lincolnwood 1 1 - 2
Pana 0 1 - 1
Goals: Lincolnwood - Levi Weir 1, Benny Clavin 1; Pana - Jace Christer 1.
Record: Lincolnwood (8-13-1); Pana (9-11-1).
Class 1A Boys Soccer
at Terry Todt Field
Friday, October 11
• (10) Lincolnwood 2, (7) Pana 1
• (6) North Mac 3, (11) Carlinville 0
Wednesday, October 16
5 p.m. - (2) Sacred Heart-Griffin vs. (10) Lincolnwood
7 p.m. - (3) Williamsville vs. (6) North Mac
Saturday, October 19
11 a.m. - Regional Championship