The rematch is now set.
Exactly two weeks after they met for the only time this fall, St. Charles North and St. Charles East will square off with a regional championship on the line as both teams prevailed in their respective semifinal matches on Tuesday in the Class 3A Wheaton North regional. The teams will battle again this Saturday in Wheaton at 11 a.m.
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The top-seeded Saints (17-2-1) didn't breeze through their contest against Wheaton North in Tuesday's opener, winning 3-1. The Falcons had some momentum after defeating Proviso West in a play-in like quarterfinal contest and then gained some more in the waning seconds of the first half.
Wheaton North (3-13-5) kept pace with the North Stars, working their way into a 1-1 halftime draw, thanks to a goal from Daniel Norton with 33 seconds left before halftime.
Despite taking some momentum into the second half, the Falcons surrendered a goal when Jacob Sterling connected with Eric Dietrich just minutes into the second half. They were never able to score the equalizer and pull off the upset.
TC Hull wrapped things up for the Saints when he scored with just 2:29 left in the contest as the Saints tightened up defensively throughout the second half.
"In the second half, they changed and were starting to drop the ball to their center back," Saints senior defender Ben Womac said. "We just had to get someone coming back and helping out on him."
Sophomore Jordan Moore scored the first goal for the Saints, who haven't lost since Aug. 29.
In the nightcap, No. 8 seed St. Charles North (8-9-2) jumped ahead of No. 9 seed Glenbard North just 3:22 into the match when Simone Sperati scored.
It appeared to be all the scoring the North Stars would need, but the Panthers' Sherveen Masghati spoiled the shutout with 1:25 left in regulation. It would make no difference though as St. Charles North recorded a 3-1 victory.
The North Stars increased their lead to 2-0 with 18:22 left on the clock in the opening half on a Kyle Swanson goal. The Panthers created a couple of chances over the final eight minutes of the half but Ryan Scott misfired wide right and Eleke Bonsi wasn't able to convert a good opportunity from the corner.
In the second half, Swanson dealt the final blow for the winners, increasing his team's lead to 3-0 when he scored with 25:59 left in the second half.
"The plan was to attack them down the right side and we did a pretty good job doing that," Swanson said. "We've got a little momentum going. We won our senior night and won this game so it should be a good game on Saturday."
When the Saints and North Stars went head-to-head on the evening of Oct. 6, the host Saints prevailed 3-0 behind goals from Dietrich, Hull and Kevin Kurtz.
"I remember them being fast down the sidelines," Swanson said. "We're going to have to try to possess the ball a little bit more."