YORKVILLE – Preston Huitron was a mix of emotions on Tuesday afternoon at Campbell Field in Yorkville.
The Yorkville sophomore was sad while thinking about the three-year anniversary of the death of his baby cousin. He was also nervously excited about the opportunity to take a penalty kick late in a scoreless Northern Illinois Big 12 East Conference game.
Huitron converted the penalty kick while senior Julio Segura added some insurance in the final minute of the Foxes 2-0 victory.
“I dedicate this goal and this win to my cousin who passed away three years ago yesterday,” Huitron said. “It feels good. We got an important win to get us to 2-1 in the conference and it was just a team effort and the team played solid today.”
Senior Salvador Alfaro got taken down in the box with 13:11 left in the game, but Huitron took the penalty kick, sending it out of the reach of Sycamore goalkeeper Aaron Eckard.
It was Huitron’s first penalty kick attempt as a Fox.
“They felt I was the strongest guy for that and I felt that somebody like Sal should’ve taken it, but he gave it to me so I appreciate it,” Huitron said. “Confidence has a lot to do with it and I try to be confident whenever I step on the ball. It was one of those where the goalie dove the right way, but I just hit it right and it went right into the corner.”
Sycamore (4-4-1, 1-1) created some scoring opportunities, but on numerous occasions the Spartans weren’t even able to attempt to finish. On the ones they were, they either misfired or Yorkville junior goalkeeper Brandon Ducoing was present to clean up the threat.
“We were going forward and taking guys on, but it’s a short and narrow field and we couldn’t figure out the timing of it,” Sycamore coach David Bachta said. “How many times did their goalkeeper just pick it up because we were playing balls through and splitting defenders, but our timing was just bad? We were just off.”
Yorkville (5-5-0, 2-1) was stingy in limiting Sycamore to any good opportunities to net the equalizer while continuing to apply pressure on the other end.
The Foxes nearly extended their lead on a combination from Segura to Alfaro, but Sycamore’s Seth Harbecke made a tremendous save with Eckard away from the net and 3:20 remaining.
The Spartans wouldn’t be as fortunate in the final minute. They got the ball past midfield before turning it over. The Foxes then capitalized as junior Edgar Barrientos fed a cross to Segura who finished.
“It was pretty difficult because they had a lot of people in back and their sweeper was pretty tough,” Segura said. “This was a really good game to win. We’re looking forward to more of these games.”
A close battle like this one is what Yorkville coach Andrew Johnson was expecting and also what he thought the Foxes needed.
“In those 8-0 and 5-0 wins you can’t lock in,” he said. “Those Naperville schools go through 2-1 and 1-0 games so and the guys need to learn to score seven goals in a game and still be confident in close games.”
With these two teams, along with DeKalb and Kaneland, the conference is going to be tough to win.
“Any of those four teams can win conference,” Bachta said. “I think it’s going to be the most even we’ve had so far.”