Soccer stock

Soccer Stock

John J. Watkins, File, The Times

EAST CHICAGO — Northwest Indiana soccer knew it was going to happen, but as to when was the question.

The historic sectional title streaks of Munster and Lake Central stood pat at 15 and 14 years in a row, respectively.

When the IHSAA announced the newly-formed Class 3A and new sectional pairings, both programs knew they'd run into one another.

The highly-anticipated rematch went to Class 3A No. 7 Lake Central 3-1 in overtime behind two penalty kicks and a goal by freshman Emilio Zambrano in the first semifinal of the E.C. Central Sectional thus ending Munster's all time sectional mark.

In turn, Lake Central's run of 14 straight sectional titles is still in tact, but it will be heavily-challenged by ‎No. 17 Morton (17-0-1), who beat the sectional host 2-0 for its 12th shutout of the season.

"Much of our prep was for this," Lake Central coach Jereme Rainwater said. ‎"We also just found out today that (former Indians soccer player) Jack Quinlan is in remission, so they drew motivation from that."

No. 8 Munster (13-4-1), who beat Lake Central 3-1 on Aug. 28 and 1-0 last year in the Merrillville Regional, struck first with just 31 seconds left in the first half.

Mustangs‎ senior midfielder Laith Srour took a kick from 25 yards out and junior Dylan Brann got the L.C. deflection, but after he has his pocket picked and the ball rattled around after a Noah Osearo save, Mustangs junior forward Sean Adams put it in past Osearo.

Two minutes later after a Munster foul, Osearo booted a goal kick 2/3 the length of the field and it bounced over a Munster defender's head.

L.C. junior striker Carson Shrader corralled it and passed it over to Zambrano, who was stopped by Munster senior keeper Kyle Snyder but he was taken down in the box.

Osearo tied it at 1-1 on the ensuing penalty kick.

That's all the scoring there would be until Shrader connected with Zambrano on what looked to be the same play, but with a different result after Zambrano beat Snyder in the 89th minute to make it 2-1.

"It was an emotional game and that foul was very big for us," said Zambrano. "It ain't over, baby. We have to continue to work hard."

Shrader later connected on a PK of his own to end it.

Lake Central will look to avenge another of its losses to an undefeated Morton team that beat the Indians 3-0 on Sept. 11.

"What a program, what a coach in Jim (Prasopoulos). You can't overlook the good groups he's had over the years,"‎ said Rainwater.

Prasopoulos praised his team's effort and knew it was going to be a tough battle regardless of when they played.

"This was a really fun group to coach. I'm really gonna miss the seniors, more than you'll ever know," Prasopoulos said. "I wish them luck and hopefully ‎we can get a team from our area to win a state title because that's what it's all about."

Morton defeated E.C. Central (2-11-1) behind a goal from sophomore midfielder Moises Tirado and a penalty kick from defender Edgar Gutierrez.

E.C. Central sophomore keeper Nick Cardona recorded three saves in the loss.