Soccer loss doesn’t dim playoff chances


Sue Ellen Damato

Senior forward Cooper Allen holds the school record for most career goals

Dylan Budd, Sports Editor

The North boy’s soccer team met the Romeoville Spartans at Tiger Stadium on Oct. 4, but couldn’t prevail with a final score of 1-0.

Though the tally suggests otherwise, the contest featured strong offensive performances from both teams. The only goal of the game was scored by Spartans’ senior Joseph Duarte after 25 minutes of play. Junior Danny Espinoza was credited with an assist.

“We outplayed them, and we had the better chances,” North senior captain Justin Williams said. “We just couldn’t finish them.” 

The loss puts the Tigers at 15-4 for the season with a 6-2 conference record. Romeoville leads the SPC with North trailing behind. 

“Although we’ve been dominant, I think that we’ve been coming short in what our goals have been for the season,” head coach Lukas Majewski said. “For example, we’ve been in a couple tournament finals and have lost them. Today was probably the game that decided who would win the conference, so it looks like the three big goals we set at the beginning of the season have vanished.”

Coming into the game,, a popular high school sports website, ranked North as the seventh best team in Illinois, with Romeoville only at 14th.

“We were ranked number one at the beginning of the season, but we’ve obviously fallen short of that,” senior forward Cooper Allen said. “At this point, we need to get back to work at practice, finish the season strong and begin our playoff run.”

The season has had its fair share of highlights for the team, including wins over dominant teams like Naperville Central and Sandburg, a mentality the team wants to keep throughout the playoffs.

“There are 11 guys on the field, and we have 10 more on the bench,” Majewski said. “Games like today bode well for us to establish speed of play, but also physicality. [Romeoville is] a good team, and we’ll face a lot of teams like that during our playoff run.”

The biggest moment of the year, however, came off the leg of Allen, who broke the school record for goals in a career.

“I was about 20 goals away coming into the season, and that was something I wanted to pass this season,” Allen said. “Breaking the record just makes me want to play harder. Realizing all the things I can accomplish pushes me to the top of my game.”

Allen’s skill as both a player and a leader have resonated with his coaches.

“[Allen] is one of those guys that can go from 0 to 100 anytime he wants,” Majewski said. “He’s had those achievements because of the player he is. He thrived on the opportunity to establish himself as one of the top players in the state. You can’t ask for anything else from a kid.”

His teammates concur with Majewski and also sing the praises of the star forward.

“[Allen has] always been one of my best friends,” senior forward Timi Usikalu said. “When the game starts, he’s on. There’s no stopping him. It’s always good to have someone with that level of talent on your team.”

The team’s talent is partially related to their experience. 20 of the 24 players on the roster are seniors, so the team knows how high the stakes are this year.

“Coming into each game, we know that we’re the stronger team,” Usikalu said. “Our goal has always been to win state, and with this team, we know we can do that.”