Kyle Kenagy header sends Benet past Fremd

The only thing more dangerous than Kyle Kenagy’s feet, it seems, is his head.

For the second straight game, the Benet forward scored on an athletic header off a long free kick from Richie Michalik.

This one came with 33:35 remaining in the second half and was all the offense the Redwings needed Tuesday to knock off Fremd 1-0 on the first night of the Best of the West Tournament at Naperville North.

“Our general thought process is Kyle can be dominant in the air,’ Benet coach Sean Wesley said. “He has athletic ability that people are not expecting or used to and if we make enough of the dangerous passes, whether it comes off of free kicks or us going endline or whatever it might be, if we do it enough, than it’s going to work.

“Kyle has proven that it’s going to work, so it’s just a matter of us getting more chances.”

The Redwings (2-0) got such a chance when the Vikings (1-3) committed a foul 40 yards from their goal on the left wing.

Michalik launched a perfect ball in front of the right post to Kenagy, who rose and got to it just before Fremd goalkeeper William LeFevre and struck a header that rolled just inside the left post. It was Kenagy’s third goal of the season.

“[Wesley] says that it comes down to the little things,” Kenagy said. “As soon as that ball goes in there you have to want it more than the guy who’s marking you. It was just a case of who wanted it more and Richie, once again, a great ball, perfect ball. Couldn’t ask for better.”

The goal was a mirror image of the one Michalik and Kenagy hooked up on against Downers Grove North. Michalik used his left foot on a free kick from the right wing in that game, with Kenagy heading it home from the left post.

The set pieces, always important in soccer, proved even more so for the Redwings because the Vikings arguably were better in the run of play. Both squads had six shots, but Fremd had more quality chances.

Benet goalkeeper Konrad Bayer made three official saves to record his second shutout, but he had to make several other alert plays to bail out his defense, including racing to the edge of the penalty area to punch away a long ball from Luke Kosacz just before Zach Schoffstall got to it with 4:00 left.

“My utmost respect to Fremd,” Kenagy said. “They definitely had their chances, too. Konrad Bayer saved us in the back quite a few times.”

“We did not deal with their direct style at all,” Wesley agreed. “They did it in a direct, positive sort of way that we’re just not used to. It was targeting that guy way down the field that kept putting pressure on our center backs. But we played with tons of heart.”

So, too, did the Vikings, who have been shut out three straight times but have been in every game.

“We had more opportunity throughout the course of the game, especially once we went down [when] we kind of picked it up a little bit,” Fremd coach Steve Keller said. “But you don’t want to be in that situation. You want to pick it up ahead of time and get those goals so that you’re in the driver’s seat.

“The opportunities were there, which is a positive. Now we’ve got to make them count.”

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