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 October 27, 2012


When it comes to making plays in the clutch, the Prairie State College tandem of freshman forward Kyle Burry (Elk Rapids H.S., Mich.) and freshman midfielder Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu (AP College, Nigeria) have been on top of their games all season long.

Saturday afternoon as the seconds began to tick down during the second overtime of the Pioneers’ NJCAA Region IV Quarterfinal match against rival Waubonsee, the feeling on the PSC bench was that the duo would strike again.

They did.

The hard-charging Burry hit a sprinting Ahmed-Shaibu in stride with a strong pass, allowing the fleet-footed native of Nigeria to blast home the golden goal in the 115th minute, lifting PSC to a 3-2 double-overtime victory at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights.

The win, PSC’s 18th of the campaign, gave the Pioneers their first quarterfinal triumph in recent history. Prairie State will now take on the winner of Saturday’s other quarterfinal clash between South Suburban and DuPage on Wednesday at Marian Catholic (3 p.m.).

“Once again I am extremely proud of this group of guys,” PSC head coach David Spataru said. “I felt we were outplayed a little bit at certain times today, but eventually our technique began to come through. This is a great day for our program.”

The victory also marked the first career quarterfinal victory for Spataru as a head coach.

Waubonsee took a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute of the tilt and held a 1-0 advantage through the remainder of the opening half.

PSC sophomore midfielder Ivan Valencia (Plainfield South H.S.) finally evened the match at 1-all in the 67th when took in a pass from freshman midfielder Felipe Garcia da Silva (Moreira H.S., Brazil) and popped a short shot past the Waubonsee goalkeeper.

Ahmed-Shaibu, who now sits third on the national scoring chart with 25 goals, collected his 24th marker of the year just three minutes later, reaching the back of the net with an unassisted shot, giving PSC a 2-1 edge.

Waubonsee recorded the equalizer in the 73rd before Ahmed-Shaibu and Burry teamed up to touch off an exuberant on-field celebration.

PSC sophomore keeper Victor Lozano (East Chicago Central H.S., Ind.) made five saves in the game, three of which required great skill. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound Lozano made one critical stop late in the second half when he punched a well-struck shot out of the goal.

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