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updated: 10/22/2012 10:44 PM

Libertyville handles Highland Park

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

It was a slow start for Libertyville's boys soccer team on Saturday.

However, once the wake-up call hit, the Wildcats hopped to it and won another regional title.

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Fourth-seeded Libertyville rolled past No. 5 Highland Park 4-1 to win the Elk Grove regional championship in a game that was played at Stevenson due to poor field conditions at Elk Grove.

As Wildcats coach Andy Bitta raised the regional plaque, Libertyville's players all got placed their hand on it and chanted in unison, "We will win the sectional!"

Libertyville (16-2-1) next meets No. 16 seed Prospect (10-8-2) in a Class 3A Conant sectional semifinal at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"It's all big stuff, because you never know if you're going to get there," Libertyville coach Andy Bitta said. "You have to work so hard, because the teams are so evenly matched. I thought we played a great game.

"I'm not sure why we don't play well on Saturdays. It takes a half before we wake up. I thought (Highland Park) should've been up by 1 or 2 goals on us. But we played a fantastic second half. We had made some adjustments at the half."

Libertyville's Ryan McKenzie scored for the fourth time in the last five games off a set piece with a head ball that was set up by Cameron Fragassi in the 35th minute for a 1-0 lead.

"It's something that I enjoy, but it's not something I need to do myself," Mckenzie said. "As long as someone can put the ball into the back of the net.

"There's something about Saturdays -- we're just not great at them. We kind of needed to wake up, and that's what it took with this goal. After that we were able to score."

Lloyd Chatfield made it 2-0 for the Wildcats in the 58th minute. A couple minutes later, Cameron Fragassi added another, and that was followed by Marek Foster's strike in the 70th minute for Libertyville.

Highland Park (13-5-4) got its goal from Frankie Rios in the 78th minute.

"I thought we played better soccer than Libertyville," Highland Park coach Blake Novotny said. "Strangely, you look at the scoreboard and you lose. I felt like the possession was in our favor and the quality of soccer we played was pretty good.

"(Libertyville) scored on the run of play and scored a lot on set pieces. Good teams are known to do that. We gave them free kick opportunities and they were able to capitalize on them."

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