MAPLE PARK – Faizan Mohiuddin wasn’t toiling away on the JV squad last fall, but that’s where he was playing while St. Charles North enjoyed the best season in school history.
Now he’s playing with the big boys. The junior showed that he belongs, scoring a beautiful goal to help the North Stars overwhelm Kaneland 5-1 in Maple Park on Saturday morning.
“Obviously they went the furthest in program history so we spent last year looking up to them and knew it would be a big task this year to try to get back to where they were,” Mohiuddin said. “The seniors that graduated last year were good mentors. They taught us the right way to play and that’s how we’re trying to play.”
They apparently also told them to listen to coach Eric Willson, which is what Mohiuddin did to score with 23:30 left in the first half. He converted his diving attempt on a perfectly fed cross from Gabriel D’Amico.
“Coach has been telling us to hang out at the back post and wait for a good opportunity,” Mohiuddin said. “That’s where I was waiting and I caught my defender sleeping a bit so I snuck in behind him and took my opportunity.”
Kaneland (0-2) responded several minutes later as Cade Ory followed in Alex Bass’ shot that was rejected by North Stars keeper Bobby Curran.
“We’ve been telling him to crash, crash, crash and he crashed,” Knights coach Scott Parillo said. “That’s good so it sounds like some of them are listening to us, so we’re doing something right.
St. Charles North (2-0) had numerous opportunities to break the tie but went into halftime deadlocked at 1-1.
The North Stars then broke the game open in the second half.
“We made some adjustments for the second half and I just thought we did a much better job of trying to find feet and working combination plays,” Willson said. “I thought it was too much 50/50 and try to dump it in the first half, and when we can combine like that then I think better goal-scoring opportunities happen.”
Matthew Beaulieu’s free kick with 31:28 remaining in the game was dead-on, sailing over Kaneland’s wall and just out of the reach of Kaneland goalkeeper Maison Kerl.
Beaulieu added a laser beam goal with 24:34 left to increase his team’s lead to 3-1 before he assisted D’Amico a couple minutes later to break the game open.
Adam Beam completed the scoring with a breakaway goal with 20 seconds left.
“It was a frustrating first half for us because we had plenty of chances and they only had a few but they scored off one,” Beaulieu said. “It feels a little unlucky, but they played hard in the first half, but I don’t think they could keep up with us in the second half and eventually our chances started to fall.”
The Knights can take consolation in the fact that they hung with the North Stars for close to 50 minutes, but the final 30 weren’t pretty.
“Unfortunately the game is 80 minutes long and this seems to happen every year against them - we’re tied 1-1 at halftime and somehow the wheels fall off or their depth takes over or something like that,” Parillo said. “I keep telling the boys and their families that it’s not how we start the season it’s how we finish he season and most of them agree with me. “