Lincolnwood’s regular season meeting with Carlinville was one of those games that the Lancers had circled on the calendar. But when the game on Oct. 4 ended in a 5-0 Cavalier victory, all Coach Joe Webb’s team could do is look for another opportunity at one of the best programs in the area.
That opportunity came on Saturday, Oct. 16, in the championship game of the Lincolnwood Regional at Terry Todt Field in Raymond, and while the victor was the same, the game was vastly different from the first meeting of the two clubs.
The Lancers would score first, but gave up two goals midway through the first half, which allowed Carlinville to fight off any remaining challenges and eventually come away with a 3-1 victory and their first regional title since 2014.
“We executed our game plan, which was to score first and keep them from scoring,” Coach Webb said. “Unfortunately, we gave up a dead ball goal that hit the post, then hit our goalie and went in. Sometimes it’s a little bit of lucky or a little of unlucky, whichever way you look at it.”
Before the go-ahead goal clanged off the post, Lincolnwood got on top 15 minutes into the game when Elijah Aumann beat Carlinville keeper Will Meyer one-on-one.
The lead would hold for six minutes, until Braden Whalen was whistled for a foul on a breakaway and Carlinville’s Trieton Park converted the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game.
Just two minutes later, Levi Yudinksy, the second half of Carlinville’s senior scoring machine with Park, got the go-ahead goal with a shot to the far post that hit iron and Lincolnwood keeper Gabe Armentrout before going in.
“They’re a good team and Tim (Johnson) has a good program over there,” Webb said of Carlinville. “We gave them our best game plan and they overcame it.”
The rest of the game, Lincolnwood focused on getting back to equal with the Cavaliers. That focus intensified in the final 20 minutes as the Lancers upped their pressure and controlled the ball on the Cavalier end of the field.
“I thought time and time again we were going to get it,” Webb said. “(Will) Jenkins had a header that tried to find the net on a set piece. We were trying to find a way to score and hats off to them for keeping us from scoring.”
Carlinville had one legitimate scoring chance in the final 20 minutes, but made it count as Park scored on a counter with 3:49 to play in the game.
“We knew we needed a goal and we were getting people forward. We had Reece Lohman marking Park the entire second half when we were attacking and on that last corner we brought him up one time. Park countered and scored. You know that’s part of it, that it could happen, but at that point 3-1 is no different than 2-1.”
The Cavaliers would fend off any last gasp attacks by the Lancers in the final three-plus minutes and punched their ticket to Tuesday’s sectional on their home field, where they will meet Beardstown.
“I just told them that I was proud of them. We haven’t competed in regionals in a couple years and we have a young team,” Webb said of his squad, none of whom had played in a regional tournament before this past week. “The experience will definitely help us. It was great seeing the kids competing and executing a game plan that we thought would help us win. They did what we wanted to do. The nerves didn’t bother them at all. It’s a great building block for next year and beyond.
The performance against Carlinville was all the more impressive after the Lancers’ 1-0 win over Teutopolis on Oct. 13, in the regional semifinal. The difference in that game was a goal by Austin Thornton with 29 minutes left on the clock, but the Wooden Shoes nearly spoiled the Lancers’ hopes of playing for a regional title.
“We talked about attacking the end line at halftime because we had chance after chance to do it. (Elijah) Aumann turned it at the end line and played it to Austin in the PK area and he blasted it home,” Webb said. “After the goal went in, everything changed. It was like we decided we were going to win 1-0. None of the kids out there had ever played in a regional and you could tell. But we survived.”
The victory over Teutopolis put Lincolnwood in the regional title game for the first time since the Lancers championship win over Hillsboro in 2016. The three tournaments since then the Lancers had been bounced in the regional semifinals, twice by Sacred Heart-Griffin and once by Effingham St. Anthony.
“We talked about it all year, which may have been why the nerves hit in the final 20 minutes against Teutopolis,” Webb said. “We didn’t talk about winning a regional game. We talked about going to a regional championship and winning it, and suddenly that was possible.”
While the Lancers regional title hopes didn’t come to fruition on Saturday, the team will return all but three players (Luke Webb, Levi Weir and Will Jenkins) next season. If they can take the lessons they learned during this year’s regional tournament into next year, more success will surely follow.
October 13 at Raymond
Class 1A Regional Semifinal
Lincolnwood 0 1 - 1
Teutopolis 0 0 - 0
Scoring: Lincolnwood - Austin Thornton (Elijah Aumann).
October 16 at Raymond
Class 1A Regional Championship
Lincolnwood 1 0 - 1
Carlinville 2 1 - 3
Scoring: Lincolnwood - Elijah Aumann 1; Carlinville - Trieton Park 2, Levi Yudinsky 1.
Record: Lincolnwood (11-8-1), Carlinville (18-2).
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