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Warren, Libertyville battle to a 1-1 draw
By Rusty Silber | Daily Herald Correspondent

Warren's Michael Sczcepanek, left, and Miles McNeir of Libertyville battle for the ball Monday.

 

Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Libertyville's Keenan Busse, left, and Warren's sean Kirwan go up for a header during their game Monday at the Libertyville Sports Complex.

 

Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Libertyville's Austin Bitta, left, and Warren's Niki Milic battle for the ball during their game Monday at the Libertyville Sports Complex.

 

Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Warren's Auner Solis, left, celebrates with Billy Eddy after Eddy scored in the first half during their game against Libertyville Monday at the Libertyville Sports Complex.

 

Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Libertyville's Shane Reilly, left, and Warren's Andrew Piotrowski battle during their game Monday at the Libertyville Sports Complex.

 

Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

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Published: 10/4/2010 10:52 PM

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Trying to determine which team will capture the Lake Division title in the North Suburban Conference became more confusing Monday afternoon.

The Warren Blue Devils and Libertyville Wildcats battled to a 1-1 deadlock through 80 minutes of soccer at the Libertyville Soccer Complex.

"The only thing this tie is going to do is to make this (division title) be decided on stats," said Wildcats coach Andy Bitta. "I really want us to be ready for the state tournament. But I want us to play for the conference championship. If we don't do it, then we won't do it. The kids are the ones who want to play in it and want to get there."

It's now a three-team battle over the next couple of days with Stevenson involved in the mix. The Blue Devils (10-5-4) and the Wildcats (14-2-2) each own 3-1-1 division records and the Stevenson Patriots (8-4-2) sits at 2-1-1.

The Blue Devils play the Patriots at the Vernon Hills Athletic Center this afternoon, while the Wildcats travel to Lake Forest and the Patriots play a makeup match at Mundelein tonight.

"I'm happy with our result and we control our own destiny," said coach Jason Ahonen, whose Blue Devils are 4-0-2 in their last six games. "You want to be in control and not to get help from anybody else."

The Blue Devils took the lead Monday in the 34th minute when Brandon Brown hit a direct cross and Billy Eddy finished it with a header.

"I just took a touch down the line," said Brown, who notched his 10th assist. "I crossed it in to Billy. He did a great job getting inside his guy and scored on a diving header inside the window."

The Wildcats rallied as they often have this season when Miles McNeir took a pass from Andrew Bitta and scored the tying goal in the 48th minute.

"It was really important to get that goal," said McNeir, who has 10 goals. "We didn't finish any of our opportunities in the first half. It was confidence booster for us.

"Austin (Bitta) flicked it and it landed right in front of me. I just headed the ball through and slotted the ball inside the back post."

Over the last couple of weeks, the Wildcats have played a number of intense games in the Lake Division as well as the Pepsi Showdown final and are beginning to feel the effects.

"I think we're a little tired and mentally drained,' Andy Bitta said. "It's hard to get up for all these tough games. Every game is tough and they're just mentally drained right now."