Losing track of Sahil Modi can be detrimental — for the opposition.
The Glenbrook North senior star, known for his great speed, is not an easy guy to mark.
Leyden found that out in the semifinal round of the Class 3A New Trier Sectional on Oct. 25. Modi had one goal and one assist in the team’s 2-0 victory.
The midfielder/forward has been given license to roam.
“He drifts out there,” said Glenbrook North head coach Paul Vignocchi, who will prepare his team for Evanston in the sectional championship game on Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. “He moves around a lot and does a nice job of finding space.
“He’s very versatile,” the coach added.
Modi, who missed last year’s state playoffs with a broken right hip, is known for finding the back of the net. A three-year varsity player, he has tallied 19 goals this season. Last year, he scored the ball 17 times to go along with two assists.
“He can be dangerous,” said Vignocchi.
Leyden’s defense didn’t account for him at a critical juncture — and the Eagles paid for it. In the 13rd minute, Modi “drifted” to the back post, received a cross from senior Robbie Fraser and used a header to bounce the ball past the Leyden goalkeeper.
“Coach is always telling me to crash the back post,” said Modi. “And that’s what I did. I had no one marking me.”
Modi also made his mark in the 58th minute of the game, when he punched the ball to the waiting feet of teammate Deng Deng Kur in the open field.
Kur did the rest. He dribbled the ball downfield and then smoked a shot into the left corner of the net.
As expected, Modi and Kur have been a dynamic duo this season for the Spartans. Like Modi, Kur has put 19 goals into the books — after scoring 11 times during the 2016 campaign.
But, who’s counting?
“It’s a healthy competition,” said Kur, with a smile.
“Sahil and I have a good relationship on and off the field,” Kur added. “We play on the same club team [FC United]. We know each other well. We’ve developed a great connection.”
Modi, who plans to study industrial engineering in college, understands the value of working as a unit. He’s big on team integration
“Sahil has taken on a leadership role, and he’s excelled at it,” said Vignocchi,
“I went into this season wanting to be more vocal,” said Modi. “I learned a lot from Seth Grossman and Tim Iscra [now at DePaul University]. I looked up to those guys. I liked the way they were always talking and helping out their teammates.”
Modi and Kur aren’t the only reasons why the Spartans — seeded No. 1 in the New Trier Sectional — improved to 19-3-1 with that win over Leyden (18-4-3).
GBN’s defense, led by senior goalkeeper Daniel Spencer, has been outstanding. The Spartans have allowed only 10 goals in their 23 matches.
Spencer put his skills on display, especially in the final 15 minutes against Leyden. The desperate Eagles bombarded him with shots on goal down the stretch.
“Daniel does a good job of holding everything together,” said Vignocchi.
Spencer also is surrounded by quality personnel. He got a lot of help from defenders Mason Rose, Evan Goldberg, Nate Aronson, Josh Lee and Ben Gordon.
Notable: Glenbrook North opened postseason play by cruising past fellow CSL North foe Maine East 4-0 on Oct. 17 in a regional semifinal at Niles North. Four different players scored goals in that contest: Deng Deng Kur, Sahil Modi, Brandon Mankoff and Max Marquez. Then, in the regional championship game on Oct. 21, the Spartans took down Taft 3-0. Deng led the offense with two goals. Modi scored the other goal.