Jovancevic delivers on PK to lift Hinsdale Central past OPRF
Updated: October 8, 2012 1:41PM
HINSDALE — Stefan Jovancevic felt the glare of the spotlight. He knew he had a chance to be the hero, or the goat.
The Hinsdale Central forward made his own mark. He drilled a penalty kick in the 75th minute that completed the host Red Devils’ 2-1 comeback victory over Oak Park-River Forest Tuesday night in Hinsdale.
“My strategy in that situation is to focus on one spot and stay on that spot the whole time,” he said.
The Red Devils (9-3-2, 4-0 West Suburban Silver) were awarded the penalty kick after a Huskies’ player was called for a handball violation with 4:16 remaining.
“It was a nerve-wracking situation,” Jovancevic said. “In that situation with not much time on the clock, if you miss it, you are looking at 20 minutes of overtime. If you make it, you probably win the game.”
It was a showdown of smoldering programs. Hinsdale Central entered the game having gone 8-1-1 in its last 10 games, punctuated by a 3-2 victory over No. 4 Lyons Saturday. The Red Devils cooled off a Huskies team that had won six of their previous seven games.
Oak Park-River Forest coach Paul Wright did not vehemently dispute the call.
“It was probably a handball,” he said. “But did it impact the path of the ball, I am not sure.”
The Huskies (7-6-1, 1-2) drew first blood after senior Gianluca Lo Casto, taking a through ball, advanced it down the left sideline and floated a perfect cross that senior forward Noe Espinoza headed into the back of the net in the 30th minute.
“I thought we controlled the first half,” Wright said. “In the second half, they kind of took it to us.”
Hinsdale Central sophomore Evan Floersch answered with a beautifully curved free kick from 35 yards out in the 36th minute. He was one of several Red Devils to step up in the absence of Red Devils’ junior star forward Christian Meyer, who had to sit after he picked up two yellow cards against Lyons.
“He’s a great player but we had others who made plays tonight,” Floersch said.