Maine West delighted a Senior Night crowd Tuesday with a goal-scoring explosion to roll over visiting St. Patrick 6-1 in the regular-season finale for the Warriors in Des Plaines.
The home-side reached its high of the season for goals scored with four players finding the back of the ne. Team leader leader Ryan Ybarra struck twice after the break when the Warriors broke open the match to put away the Shamrocks (5-12-2), who open regional play this Friday as the No. 13 seed against No. 20 Foreman of the Public League at Maine East.
"We've played in so many 1-0, 2-1 matches all season, it felt good to get out early with a couple of goals, and have a stress-free match for once, said a relieved West head coach Mike Divicenzo, whose club meets the winner of the Schurz-Notre Dame play-in match at the Loyola regional next Tuesday night.
"One of the best things about having a little bit easier of a match (tonight) was that it gave a lot of players the chance to get out and play when they normally wouldn't, and to get everyone ready for our first match next week in the state tournament, said backline senior Austin O'Toole, who wears the captains armband along with Emmett Turner-Jackson and Jayson LeSeth and was one of seven seniors honored on this night.
LeSeth would provide the helper on the Warriors (10-4-7) first goal of the evening when his pin-point perfect serve from the far corner flag was finished with a sensational one-timer from freshman Nelson Herrera at 19 minutes. Jackson's "dummy fooled the Shamrocks' defense, and allowed Herrera plenty of space and time to finish from in close.
Arturo Alegria doubled the Warriors lead three minutes later when the junior touched past his mark, and tip-toed along the endline before going up and over Pat's keeper Christian Brito, who helped his club stay close in the first-half with a pair of point-blank saves.
DiVincenzo, as he has always done during his tenure, played all of the players that dressed, kept fresh legs coming and going to keep the pace up on his weary opponents. A LeSeth goal at 27 minutes helped the Warriors tighten its grip on the match.
"We shared the ball really well tonight, and we've been working very hard on finishing and service during the past week or so, said DiVincenzo, "and tonight we got ourselves a couple of goals off (serves) and we finished a lot of our chances.
Ybarra just got on the end of a nice through ball from the left side by Christian Herrera right after intermission, and if not for a questionable foul and subsequent free kick which curled into the top corner from Jason Rodriguez, sophomore keeper Jecsan Torres would have earned his 10th shutout of the season.
"For a rookie keeper, (Jecsan) has really come through for us all season long, and is one of the reasons this team can have a long run during the post-season, said Jackson.
A superb serve to the back post from LeSeth would find Herrera, who made it 5-1 in the 62nd minute. Ybarra put an exclamation point on the night at 73 mintues, with the helper going to teammate Alex Blancas.