Benet’s Artur Pach makes first goal count in win over Neuqua

Benet freshman Artur Pach interrupted teammate Kyle Kenagy’s scoring spree to record the first goal of his high school career on Thursday and it was a game-winner.

Pach knocked in a five-yard shot off a corner kick from Connor Mote with 4:07 to go in the first half to break a scoreless tie and Benet went on to beat Neuqua Valley 3-0 at the Best of the West tournament at Naperville North.

“[Mote’s cross] just went right into the mixer and I just saw it pop over someone’s head and I just tapped it in,” Pach said. “As a freshman on the varsity and playing in my third game, I finally just broke in and got used to it and everything. To score my first goal, my confidence just went up and I knew that I could be successful on this team.”

Indeed, Pach ended up with a three-point night after assisting on Kenagy’s two goals in the second half.

Kenagy, who leads the Redwings (3-0) with five goals, made it 2-0 with 27:34 to go when he ran under a cross from Pach and sent a 15-yard header over the head of Neuqua Valley goalkeeper Brady Moody.

The two hooked up again 15 minutes later when Pach passed up the middle of the field to Kenagy, who took a few dribbles before unleashing a 28-yard shot into the lower left corner of the net.

“My first [assist] I got a through ball and then I just one-touched it right into the box and it was a perfect curl, right to his head and it went right over the goalie,” Pach said. “And then my second one I just got the ball and played an immediate penetrating pass to Kyle and he turned and shot it to the back post. It was amazing.”

While Kenagy is expected to have another great season, he has said the Redwings have plenty of other offensive weapons. But Pach, the only freshman on the roster, has been a revelation even though he has yet to crack the starting lineup.

“Hopefully, yes [I can be a threat],” Pach said. “There’s a reason that I’m on this team. It’s very rare for a freshman to make varsity, and I think I have the talent and the commitment to just improve every day and adapt to their style and become successful.”

Neuqua Valley (1-4), in contrast, has been struggling to build an attack around Bowling Green-bound star Ryan Ross. Ross took six of the Wildcats’ seven shots, all of them from distance.

“Just a disappointing effort in regards to being able to put balls in the back of the net,” Neuqua Valley coach Skip Begley said. “The first 35-40 minutes I thought we played really well but even though we had good possession we didn’t press their goalie.

“We can’t convince other people [to shoot]. Everybody wants to pass the ball to somebody else to get the job done. If it’s not Ross, then who else is it? We need somebody else to step up.”

Ross put three long-range rockets on target, but Benet goalkeeper Konrad Bayer stopped them all. Bayer made five saves, including a diving effort to thwart a 33-yarder from Xavi Ortiz early in the second half, and has yet to allow a goal.

“You’ve just got to play confident, keep the back organized and when they don’t give up shots you don’t have to save many,” Bayer said. “We’re really working on our defense to help out Kyle up top so that if he doesn’t score we can still get the win.”

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