Boys Soccer’s defense shines again in a 1-0 win over Senn


Alex Burstein

Lane’s Wilson Smiejek and Ethan Peet (7) celebrate after Smiejek’s go-ahead goal.

By Zach Sharpe, Reporter

After dropping their first match of the season two days prior, Lane Boys Soccer entered their conference matchup on Sept. 14 hoping to continue their recent success against Senn — 8 goals and three wins in their three prior matchups.

Despite limiting mistakes and playing more skilled soccer, it was just one second half goal that made the difference for Lane on a perfect weather night at Lane Stadium.

In a low-scoring, back and forth chippy game, the Lane Tech Champions took a 1-0 conference win over the Senn Bulldogs. The game ended with only four total shots on goal from both teams combined, with junior defender Wilson Smiejek’s 45th minute shot being the only one to find the back of the net. 

Lane and Senn battled all game, with neither team having a majority of the possession for more than two or three minutes at a time. 

In a game that Lane Head Coach Andrew Ricks described as “not pretty soccer,” Lane’s defense, led by junior Ethan Peet and Smiejek, kept the game close early. It would take strong play from the back for Lane to slow down an aggressive Bulldogs offense. 

“We obviously started off the game slow,” Smiejek said. “They brought more intensity than we did. And in our halftime talk we talked about how we needed to improve our intensity. … When we came out of the second half, we brought that intensity.” 

And bring that intensity they did. About six minutes into the second half, Peet headed the ball right in front of the goal to his travel teammate Smiejek, who slammed it in. 

“Honestly, I was just trying to put it back in the box, try to create something out of it,” Peet said after the win.

While Lane was able to get the one goal they needed, their defense, led by Smiejek, Peet and goalkeeper Gael Rodriguez, clinched the win with their sixth clean sheet of the year out of seven games.

“I want to not concede [a goal] against a CPS team…. With the defense we have, I think we can,” Smiejek said.

As Lane’s defense looked to finish out the job, things started to get chippy with 10 minutes to go in the game, as forward Alan Zavala got into it with a Senn defender. 

Both teams came running out with most of the players trying to break them up, but some still jawing at each other. Security guards had to come help break them up and were very annoyed with the players. From then on players were being extra physical, throwing their bodies at one another. 

This was the culmination of a night with lots of physical play, but not many whistles blown by the referees.

“I wish the referees would have made some calls for both teams against both teams to settle the physical play down. … You have to respond to how the referee is calling it,” Ricks said. “They were consistent, which is what you want out of a referee. We played the game they were giving us, and we won, and that’s what you want to try and do is make those solutions.”

It wasn’t the first moment of the game where refs had to get involved. Ten minutes into the second half, the referee talked to a group of parents for heckling too much. They got threatened that if the ref heard one more thing he didn’t like, he would eject them from the stands.    

Despite the unusual disruptions to the second half, Lane stuck to their plan and were able to fight off all of the last-minute attempts from the Bulldogs to take the win 1-0.

Lane fell in their next matchup, a 2-0 loss to Latin, to drop their record to 5-2-1 on the year. They will now look to stay undefeated in CPS play with four straight public league games, including three against conference opponents. The first of those matches will be a 6 p.m. kickoff at home against Lincoln Park on Sept. 21.

Alex Burstein contributed reporting