Raiders kick their way to triumph against Mchenry Warriors

Huntley boys varsity soccer wins last night’s tension-filled game.


G. Watt

Seniors John Lengle, Ansel Dias, Ethan Pfeifer, and junior Talon Sargeant stand together in front of the field, embracing their success as a team.

By Daniel Przybylko

Sweat pours down their faces. Their feet are stabbed with needles of pain. They run up and down, up and down, over and over again. The yells of their teammates and coach force them into an instant decision: move it, or lose it. This has become routine for the players. A dance of two opposing teams, flowing with rhythm and grace, which has an abrupt finish when there are no second chances. You either win or you lose.

Huntley’s varsity boys soccer team took home a well-deserved win this Thursday, Sept. 15 against the McHenry Warriors. After two losses this previous weekend versus the St. Lawrence Vikings and the Willow Brook Warriors in the Bodyarmour tournament, the team had a strong desire to make a comeback. 

“We learned a lot over the weekend, I would say,” said head Coach Matthew Lewandowski. “[We] found out a lot about ourselves and we were able to work on it Monday, Wednesday and Thursday… and I think it showed today.” 

Both teams had a rough first half, with only a handful of good chances and shots on goal attempts. In the final minute of the first half, forward Hudson Nielsen quickly acted on a free kick in hopes to catch the other team off guard. The referee then gave Nielsen a yellow card for kicking the ball before he was given permission. 

After a halftime talk to help the players gain confidence and improve on their performance, senior forward Ansel Dias was able to score in the sixth minute of the second half off a header assisted by defense player Zach Heitkemper, making the score 1-0 for Huntley.

“It feels really good. You know after two losses you get a lot of morale,” Dias said.

The pace picked up greatly for the team and clear improvement was made from their performance in the first half. Just 9 minutes after the first goal, Heitkemper scored a second goal, assisted by his fellow defender Kyle Paler. While McHenry touched the ball last, the credit was given to Heitkemper, who gave the cross, resulting in a two-point lead for Huntley. 

“[The team began to] finish on their chances, playing confidently together and letting the team do their work,” Heitkemper said.

After a strong comeback, the team understood their weaknesses and did what needed to be done to improve. Their hard work and effort paid off in the end and taught them what they need to do as a team to succeed for the rest of their season. Huntley’s next game will be against Prairie Ridge on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. at Prairie Ridge High School. 

“We got to keep this momentum going, and ultimately, it boils down to having 22 guys that are ready to just run, work, and be together as a group,” Lewandowski said.