St. Charles East completed its season sweep of its Tri-Cities rivals and won the Upstate Eight Conference River Division at the same time on Saturday evening, breezing past St. Charles North, 3-0, at Norris Stadium.
"They put in a great performance again and it's always good to beat your rivals," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "They get their first piece of hardware, so to speak, with the conference trophy to show something for all the work they've done."
There's some debate to how the Saints jumped ahead 1-0 with 32:53 left in the opening half. Junior Eric Dietrich was awarded with a goal, but he was the first one to tell you that it was actually an own goal.
"I was at the right place at the right time," Dietrich said. "When it got crossed, I got cut off on a 50/50 ball and the defender actually hit it in. I didn't really touch it, but I'm happy it went in."
Dietrich certainly earned the assist on a Kevin Kurtz goal, as the Saints increased their lead to 2-0 with 25:38 left in the half.
"It was a great ball to the corner and I just one-touched it," he said. "That's all that was needed because Kevin (Kurtz) did the rest."
St. Charles East (15-2-1, 5-1) added a goal late in the second half as TC Hull snagged a loose ball and blasted it past North Stars keeper, Billy Larsen, with 15:37 left in regulation.
St. Charles North (7-8-0, 2-4) played better in the second half, but that was little consolation to coach Eric Willson.
"I thought we had a better effort in the second half, but you get into a rivalry game like this and you can't just do it for half of a game," he said. "You see what happens when you do that.
"It was clear which team wanted to win this game a little bit more. I wouldn't even say a little bit, because it was clear who wanted to win and they deserve every bit of the conference title."
Justin Stanko and Kyle Swanson had a few opportunities to put the North Stars on the scoreboard in the second half, but St. Charles East keeper Chris Lucatorto was on his game, making several deflections and diving plays to ensure the shutout.
"It was definitely a fun game and I'm still smiling from ear to ear," Lucatorto said. "I was hungry whenever (Justin) Stanko was up. He's got a heck of a kick, but it was definitely fun and a great win for the boys."