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updated: 10/26/2012 9:04 PM

St. Charles East rolls over Larkin

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By Steve Nichols

St. Charles East's boys soccer team heard the echoes. The Saints knew that Larkin wanted a date with the Saints in the sectional final, long before the sectional round even started.

"I saw something in the paper that they had been waiting for us the entire tournament," Saints' junior midfielder Dan DiLeonardi said. "It was a little bit of motivation. We felt that last game was a little closer than it should have been. We wanted to show we were better than that in the first meeting."

DiLeonardi alluded to a 3-1 win over Larkin earlier this season, where it was 1-1 until the last 4 minutes. But the Class 3A York sectional final Friday wasn't even close.

Forward TC Hull chipped two-thirds of his hat trick in the first half while DiLeonardi had a hat trick of his own in the second half as the top-seeded Saints (20-2-1) crushed the third-seeded Larkin (15-6-4) 8-1, giving St. Charles East its first sectional hardware since 2001.

The Saints (20-2-1) will play another top seed, Warren, in the Barrington supersectional Tuesday at 7 p.m. Warren beat Barrington 2-1 in the Rockford Auburn sectional final Friday.

"Oh man, happy days," St. Charles East coach Paul Jennison said. "That was as good of a performance as we put in all season. I thought we were absolutely fantastic; just overwhelmed with pride right now for these boys. Eight to one in a sectional final. I don't know if that happens very often or if indeed it's ever happened. They get to enjoy this tonight and tomorrow morning we're going to be practicing nice and early because we want to get in and continue this feeling."

It caps an exciting 2 weeks for East. When you bunch together Friday's win with the 4-0 win against Streamwood on Tuesday, the 7-1 regional last Saturday over St. Charles North and the 3-1 win over Wheaton North in the regional semifinal, who's to say East can be stopped?

"We have such weapons that if teams don't get something on us fairly quickly, they might realize it might a little bit of a long game," Jennison said.

While both teams came out a bit conservative, the Saints eventually became the aggressor with a 14-4 shot advantage, forcing Larkin goalie Aldiar Dominguez to account for 8 saves. When Kevin Kurtz had the ball poked away by a Larkin defender 20-yards from Larkin's goal, Hull was right behind him for the 1-0 lead with 20 minutes left in the first half.

Hull wasn't done as he struck again just before the half when he capitalized on a direct kick off 2 yellow cards 20 yards out for a 2-0 lead.

But Hull's third goal 5 minutes into the second half that he fired from the left sideline off an assist from Andrew Shone seemed to be the dagger at 3-0.

"We've been scoring a lot of goals and our defense has been solid," Hull said. "If we score a lot of goals it's easy for our defense."

DiLeonardi put in 3 goals in the second with Zach Manibog and Shone scoring as well. Larkin appeared tired and East's goalies had just 1 save combined.

"Our high pressure eventually got the best of them and they were tired so we were able to advance the ball quickly and get into attacking areas," DiLeonardi said. "We had subs switching in and out so we had fresh legs constantly to keep up the pressure so its hard for them to possess the ball with the same intensity because they didn't have as much depth as us."

Royals coach Ken Hall would probably agree, since his team missed a major contributor in injured midfielder Tony Hernandez plus several others.

"I never want to make an excuse, St. Charles East is a great team. But we had guys who could barely walk playing today," Hall said. "Believe me, I'm not making excuses, they deserved to win today. I wish we had our team out there today, that's basically all I can say."

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