Sometimes teams need to be reminded of the great season they've had.
Saturday night was that time for Naperville Central's boys soccer team after a 2-1 overtime loss to Warren in the Class 3A championship match.
"It doesn't feel like it right now unfortunately," Redhawks coach Troy Adams said while his emotional players consoled each other, "but hopefully as we get a couple of more days, a couple of more weeks behind us, we can look back. It truly was a special season. It was special more than the wins, it was special with the kids that were there. You can see how tightly knit group they are. They really enjoyed being around each other, and that's ultimately as a coach all you can ask for."
The Redhawks (23-2) fell behind in the 27th minute of a first half that saw a lot of creative, attacking play and box-to-box action. Tony Severini's goal seemed to catch the Redhawks by surprise, in part because they started the game having given up only 9 goals this season.
The Redhawks spent the second half playing a more direct style, actively searching for the tying goal. It came just in time, senior Jack Patrick scoring from 16 yards out with just 14.2 seconds on the clock.
"It kind of broke open," Adams said. "It was kind of a thing where you almost have almost too many players to keep track of. One breaks loose, and he made a nice run to get in that position and then a lot of composure to finish like that. With that little amount of time left, I can't imagine trying to finish a goal without blasting it over the top, but Jack did a great job of staying composed and putting it in."
Naperville Central, which finished second for a second consecutive season, seemed to have the momentum entering overtime. It didn't last long, however. Nick Wegrzynowicz gave the Blue Devils (21-5-3) the lead right back less than two minutes into overtime.
"They did a nice job of coming out and getting that goal right away," Adams said.
Again, the Redhawks were forced to push for an equalizer, but this time it never came.
"The good and the bad part about sports is that some days the ball just doesn't bounce the way you want it to, and unfortunately for us it didn't today," Adams said.