MINOOKA – Chris Drey wasn’t initially credited with his squad’s lone score in Wednesday’s season opener against Lockport.
But that was okay with the Minooka junior, who was quick to credit fellow captain Mason Messina for his excellent free kick, which set up the goal in the 80th minute.
That combination helped to secure a 1-1 draw in the nonconference match against the visiting Porters, who looked like it might prevail, thanks to a goal in the 29th minute in addition to some fine play in the net from its three keepers.
“I got a great pass from Mason, and I just flicked it,” said Drey, who shares captain’s duties with Luke St. Paul, David Esparza and Messina. “It was a smart kick, and he just lobbed it up so that anyone could have gotten it. We have a really good team and we keep fighting. We have a young team but they’re ready to work every day. I’m excited about the season.”
Drey’s goal with just 37 seconds remaining capped what had been a frustrating afternoon for the Indians (0-0-1), who had many more good chances than did Lockport (0-0-1) but just couldn’t find the net.
Part of the reason for that were the efforts of Porter keeper Justin DeYoung, Jacob Krawczyk and Brian Moore, who all came up with big saves during the match.
In the final 40 minutes, Kyle Sparks was denied on a liner and Messina’s subsequent free kick was also thwarted. A bit later, a throw-in from Noah St. Paul to Miguel Quiroz nearly led to a score, but the effort was thwarted by a diving save.
Sparks was frustrated a few other times around the half’s midpoint and then Luke St. Paul experienced similar dejection in the final minutes on a pair of attempts.
“It was a fun game,” Indians coach Chris Brolley said. “It bounced back and forth. We made a couple of saves, and they made a couple. Our guys fight back to the end, even though guys were cramping up late. This is what high school soccer is all about. We have a great group of guys, and they’re led by our captains and seniors, who do it the right way.”
In the opening half of the match that was delayed a day because of heavy rains, Minooka withstood a few early threats before responding with good tries from Sparks, Noah St. Paul and Luke St. Paul before the Porters grabbed the early lead.
Angelo DeMarco found Jack Dilger, who had gotten free, and he placed an attempt over on-rushing keeper Noah Jawdat, who came up with a big stop on a close-range try by David Kordaczka shortly before the break.