The Parkland men's soccer team clinched a share of the 2018 Mid-West Athletic Conference title with a 2-0 shutout of Lincoln Land on Oct. 2.
Owning a 3-1 conference record, Francisco Andrade's first half game-winner insured the Cobras of its fourth straight M-WAC regular season championship, fifth in the last six seasons.
The program's seventh M-WAC Championship, it's the Cobras' sixth under head coach Mark Sikora. Having completed their four conference matches of the season, the Cobras will await the outcomes of the remaining conference matches to see if they will win the title outright.
An evenly matched first half saw a combined seven shots on goal between the two squads, four by the Loggers and three from the Cobras. In the 35thminute, Parkland broke through when freshman Yu Sasaki connected with Andrade to break the scoreless tie. For Andrade it was his second goal of the season, while the assist by Sasaki tied him for the team lead (10) that also ranks third nationally.
"We had to grind out a difficult first half due to a much improved Lincoln Land team, and 20 mile-per-hour winds in our face," Sikora said. "Lorenzo Giaretti kept us in the match with some great saves throughout the first half. We were able to break through a tough defense with Francisco [Andrade], but the rest of the half was pretty even."
Starting the second half with a 1-0 lead, Parkland was able to control the possession game for the final 45 minutes. Only allowing Lincoln Land one shot on goal, the Cobras were able to add an insurance goal on one of their five second-half shots. Scoring his first goal of the season, freshman center Tyler Arias found the back of the net in the 58th minute.
"[The] second half we were able to control the match and make chances," Sikora explained. "We got very good shifts from Tyler Arias, who also scored a penalty, and Colby Woolcott who brought great energy to the team. Not our best performance overall, but it was enough to move forward."
Saving each of the five shots put on frame against him, Parkland goalie Lorenzo Giaretti earned his fifth shutout of the season. Giaretti and the Cobras also fended off four Lincoln Land corner kicks.
Up next, the Cobras will be back in action on Monday, Oct. 8, as they travel to face the University of Indianapolis Reserves. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Central Time.
[Article by Chad Beyler]