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updated: 11/1/2011 10:38 PM

Fremd tops New Trier, makes Final Four

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  • Fremd's Michael Eschbach, left, tries to hold off New Trier's Jeff Farina during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.

       Fremd's Michael Eschbach, left, tries to hold off New Trier's Jeff Farina during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Jeremy Kosacz, left, leaps for a header during boys soccer supersectional game against New Trier Tuesday.

       Fremd's Jeremy Kosacz, left, leaps for a header during boys soccer supersectional game against New Trier Tuesday.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Yusuke Kanada celebrates his goal against New Trier during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.

       Fremd's Yusuke Kanada celebrates his goal against New Trier during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Lucas Cholewa, left, collides with New Trier goal keeper Tyler Schmarak during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.

       Fremd's Lucas Cholewa, left, collides with New Trier goal keeper Tyler Schmarak during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • New Trier goalkeeper Tyler Schmarak can't stop a goal by Fremd's Yusuke Kanada during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.

       New Trier goalkeeper Tyler Schmarak can't stop a goal by Fremd's Yusuke Kanada during Tuesday's boys soccer supersectional game at Maine South.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Lucas Cholewa, middle, celebrates his goal against New Trier with teammate Eric Leonard boys soccer supersectional at Maine South Tuesday.

       Fremd's Lucas Cholewa, middle, celebrates his goal against New Trier with teammate Eric Leonard boys soccer supersectional at Maine South Tuesday.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent

The month of October captivated the Fremd faithful, especially the final two weeks.

And Tuesday night in Park Ridge, the Vikings (16-5-2) extended the thought and made it a November to remember for their fans.

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Fremd's postseason run continued at the Maine South boys soccer supersectional Tuesday, and the Vikings made light work of upset-minded New Trier with a 5-1 victory to book their spot in the Class 3A state tournament Final Four on Friday at Lincoln-Way North High School in Frankfort.

Lucas Cholew and Eric Leonard found the back of the net three minutes apart, and a spectacular thunderbolt of a goal from Yusuke Kanada at 18 minutes was enough to effectively end New Trier's hopes.

The Trevians (10-11-1) were a No. 10 seed and scored only a consolation goal in 68 minutes to end the shutout bid for Fremd goalkeeper Colton Caesius.

"This is all pretty amazing," said Leonard, a sophomore who along with Kanada and senior Brian Hindle drew plenty of praise from Fremd coach Steve Keller for their effort and work rate. "We really put the pressure on them with those three quick goals, but Matt (Briars) and the guys along the back were once again fanstastic, and they have just gotten better and better with each game of the playoffs."

The Vikings advance to their eighth trip to the state tournament in program history and first since 2005, when they finished fourth overall in the old two-class system.

"When you see your star players like Brian, Yusuke and Eric working and running so hard and creating so much trouble for our opponents, it kind of makes you work even harder -- even harder than those guys do," said Briars, who along with Spencer Janes and Eric Scott have enjoyed a brilliant stretch during the tournament, particularly against attacking giants Libertyville and Prospect.

"We've made some changes in the back all season long, and even tried playing with three or four in the back," said Keller, "but that's a brand new group from a year ago and they have really come on of late to give us exactly what we needed back there."

The Trevians had troubles in the early stages, as it was clear they had no answer to the quickness shown by Kanada from the opening whistle.

Cholew, brought up late in the season, struck first when a long throw from Hindle created a scrum inside the 6-yard box. Cholew ended up finishing what Leonard kept alive past a diving Niko Katsinis.

Three minutes later, following a patient build-up begun up the right side by Michael Eschbach, Kanada held down low, and when pressured played the ball back to Leonard. His searing low drive went past Katsinis from 20 yards.

The Vikings continued their surge. At the quarter hour, Kanada unloaded a right-footed blast from an angle to the right of Katsinis; it crashed off the underside of the crossbar and exploded into the back of the net.

"From the very beginning, Yusuke was a handful, and that had to be one of his best, if not the best, games of the season," said Keller.

It was a tough contest for Craig Fairbairns' side, which has a potential star in the making up top in sophomore Jeff Farina and several underclassmen in his starting lineup.

"We came into tonight riding high with a nice streak of victories over some very good clubs, but all of that ended really very quickly once they put a couple into the back of the net," said Fairbairn.

The forward runs of Hindle, Leonard, Kanada and Jeremy Kosacz were causing no end of trouble for the Trevians. And New Trier had trouble with possession at midfield.

Leonard found Jon Magnusson at the back post with a lovely cross which landed on top of his teammates right foot for an easy one-timer in the 40th minute and much later, another terrific reserve player, Tim Lehigh, placed his name in the scorebook to counter Sam Markin's goal 60 seconds earlier.

"There aren't really any words to describe this feeling right now, but one thing we all know and can say, is that we're in the last four and going after a state title," said Leonard.

The Vikings will play Naperville Central (18-4-0) at 5 p.m. Friday in the first of two semifinal matches.

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