By Curt Herron
After seeing his squad get off to a disappointing 2-5 start this season, Jim Luzzi decided it was time for a change.
So the veteran Saint Ignatius College Prep coach went with a revamped lineup in Thursday's match at Lincoln-Way East.
That seemed to fire up all of the Wolfpack, who struck first and last in the match in the Lincoln-Way Tournament.
Saint Ignatius took a 2-1 lead midway through the final half and then made it stand on a rainy evening in Frankfort.
Jeremy Palcan got the go-ahead goal and had an assist while Brandon Medina also scored and Zak Allen added an assist.
As a result, the Wolfpack improved to 1-1 in pool play, bouncing back from a 1-0 defeat to Eisenhower on Tuesday.
East (3-3-1), who won 4-2 over Manteno on Tuesday, needs to beat Eisenhower on Saturday to have a shot at advancing.
But although it wouldn't mind advancing to the semifinals of the event, Saint Ignatius has more important goals.
And those include performing much better than they have to date, something they hope happens as a result of this victory.
"We made some changes at the beginning of the first half because we weren't satisfied with the way that things were going in practice," Luzzi said. "So we sat some players who normally would have started.
"But I was pleased since the guys who went in for them played very well and our first half was very good. We put some of our normal players back in in the second half and they understood whaty we were trying to do.
"We're hoping that maybe this can be a game that can turn our season into the way that we expected it to go."
After dropping four matches by a goal, the Wolfpack were happy to finally see a close decision go their way.
And the go-ahead score came in a rather unusual fashion, considering not who scored it, but who assisted on it.
Allen, a senior and one of the state's top keepers, didn't start in goal for the first time since his freshman year.
With Erick Eklin performing well in the net, Allen played in the field during the final half and made his impact there.
In the 60th minute, Allen sent a pass into the box and Palcan put in the short try to give their team the lead for good.
"We have three keepers, so it's good for them to get some time in the goal and it's also good to have me run a little bit on the field," Allen said. "It's good fitness and I actually enjoyed it.
"In our last practice, we really didn't play the way we should and the coaches were a little mad alftime speech pumped at us so they wanted to prove a point in the first half and I think they successfully did that.
"Their halftime speech pumped the team up and the captains also had to pump up the team and we brought up the intensity in the second half. We're communicating more and our intensity has been increasing.
"I hope this might be a turnaround for our season and we hope to continue this type of success. We had a rough start but I feel like we're on an upswing now."
As the rains that fell throughout most of the match picked up in the final 20 minutes, neither side threatened much.
Albert Alfaro sent a liner to keeper Rich Torres and Leo Jair Castaneda's header was wide shortly after the last goal.
One of East's few good chances down the stetch came in the 77th minute when Anthony Cetera sent a free kick to Eklin.
Although all of the scoring came in the final half, neither side was able to generate very many good opportunities.
Not long after the break, Medina sent a free kick to Torres and East's John Ulrich was denied by Eklin on a liner.
The Wolfpack moved in front in the 48th minute when they made the most of a throw in to finally break the deadlock.
Sterling Yates tossed the ball to Palcan, who flicked it toward Medina, who was able to connect from close range.
"Since the season's started, we've been down," Medina said. "But after seeing how we played in the first half in this weather, we were inspired to step up and the guys who came in followed that example.
"Our coaches did a good job at halftime to set us straight and we were so pumped up after that. Lincoln-Way East has very talented players on all parts of the field so this win should really benefit us.
"What I like about our team is the boys have a lot of soccer knowledge and also our energy. If we get pumped up, I really like the way that we play."
But Saint Ignatius didn't keep the momentum for long since East made the most of its next good chance to tie it up.
In the 55th minute, Kris Kirchoff sent a throw in to Logan Murphy, who flicked it to Jim Ralph for a short attempt.
However, just as the Wolfpack had a brief initial lead, the Griffins were tied for an even shorter amount of time.
The loss was tough to swallow for East's Brian Papa, whose team lost by a goal for the third time in four matches.
"I'm very disappointed," Papa said. "I thought we'd play a lot better than we did. It's not like we played badly, it's just that they got two goals after we tried to do something in the second half.
"I don't like what's going on the field, especially trying to get guys to play together. There's a lot of holding onto the ball and not passing it and we have to get that changed.
"How many times were we in the box and we didn't get one cross, and you're not going to win when you play with the ball in the box and not get it off your foot."
What especially upset the veteran Griffin coach was that his squad didn't attempt more shots in the lousy weather.
"I can't tell the guys to shoot the ball and on a day like today, balls should have been flying," Papa said. "I think we shot only two balls from outside and even our goal was just a tap-in.
"We had four corner kicks and every one was right on the doorstep and we did nothing with them. That's not even including the restarts that we had at the top of the box that we did nothing with.
"It's got to be the coach's fault because when restarts don't go in, I'm going to take the blame. I have to put the right kids in there, all it is is finding the right chemistry."
Although Saint Ignatius enjoyed a wind advantage in the first half, it was unable to translate that into any scores.
Early on, Torres stopped a header by Alfaro and a liner by John Barkidjija while Charlie Braman sent a try wide.
The Griffins put together their first good threats during the 17th minute on shot attempts by Murphy and Cetera.
After the half's midway point, Alfaro had a shot halted, the same fate suffered a bit later by Cetera and Ralph.
Just before the break, East's Michael Roth was denied on a long free kick while Cetera had a corner kick punched away.