Boys soccer: Freshman Ronan Treacy’s first high school gift lifts Lincoln-Way East over Bolingbrook in OT

Griffins shut out Raiders 1-0 in SouthWest Suburban Blue upset

Lincoln-Way East’s Ronan Treacy (21) celebrates after scoring the winning goal in overtime against Bolingbrook on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 in Bolingbrook.

BOLINGBROOK - Ronan Treacy’s first high school goal could not have come at a better time.

The Lincoln-Way East freshman scored just over 3 minutes into overtime Saturday to lift the Griffins to a 1-0 upset over host Bolingbrook in a SouthWest Suburban Blue game.

To be sure, it’s a moment Treacy won’t soon forget.

“It means a lot,” Treacy said. “It’s just an amazing feeling.”

Noah Brown made three saves to record the shutout for the Griffins (7-8-1, 2-0), getting plenty of help from a defense led by Finnegan Warner, Ryan Grotke and Jack Dudzik.

Diego Guzman made two saves for Bolingbrook (8-2-4, 0-1).

On the game-winner, Treacy dribbled around a defender and sent a cross toward a teammate in the middle of the box. The ball deflected back to Treacy, who quickly fired a shot, burying into the top of the net to set off a raucous celebration for Lincoln-Way East.

“I just dribbled across the field, did a little one-two move to beat the guy and crossed it,” Treacy said. “Then it got deflected and came back out to me and I just hit it. It felt good, but I was about to pass out when everybody crowded me.”

Dudzik, a senior defender, was excited to rush up and join the party after the goal.

“It was crazy,” Dudzik said. “This is a memorable one. I’m going to remember this one, for sure. It’s a massive win.”

Lincoln-Way East coach Matt Ribbens has been impressed by Treacy’s play all season. He was thrilled to see the freshman get his first goal.

“That’s what dreams are made of at this level,” Ribbens said. “I can’t take of a better script for a young man. He’s beyond talented with the ball, he moves really well and he just reads the game. He’s a step to three steps ahead of almost every player out there at times.”

Treacy has made the adjustment to varsity soccer a smooth one. The goal was all that was missing.

“It’s felt really good to get a lot of playing time,” he said. “I lead the team in assists, but scoring goals has been the biggest challenge. I missed one goal that was pretty easy at the beginning of the year, but now I’ve got my first.”

Meanwhile, the Griffins’ defense held up to limit the Raiders’ threats.

Bolingbrook’s best scoring chance came in the 34th minute when Aiden Montes blasted a shot off the crossbar. Daniel Balas also drew iron in the second half, sending a shot off the post.

Both teams had a defender step up big with a non-goalie save in the first half.

In the 12th minute, Lincoln-Way East’s Brian McCracken sent a header on goal, but Bolingbrook defender Jared Ibarra was there to head it away from the goal line.

Just under 10 minutes later, the Raiders’ Frank Quintero dribbled around a pair of Lincoln-Way East defenders and chipped a shot over the head of a charging Brown, but Dudzik blocked and cleared it.

“They broke our line and our goalie was coming out so I just decided to drop back,” Dudzik said. “He ended up chipping it over the goalie and I was there to clear it out.”

The Raiders’ two losses this season have both been by one goal, the other a 2-1 defeat to Lincoln-Way Central.

The Griffins, meanwhile, saw Saturday’s victory as a major breakthrough after some close losses to other top teams.

“We were waiting for that one big win,” Ribbens said. “We’ve stuck around with the good teams and we’ve fallen to some teams that we could have beaten. It’s about that belief in what we have, because it’s there. This helps us tremendously with confidence, especially with the playoffs coming soon.

“Knowing we can beat a top-quality team like this is everything to these guys. I told them that I knew it, now they just have to know it.”