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updated: 9/28/2013 5:32 PM

St. Charles E. takes title after tying Streamwood

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

St. Charles East left Norris Stadium on Saturday still undefeated.

The Saints also departed as champions of the St. Charles East Invitational for the second straight year.

Still, something seemed awry as the Saints only managed a 0-0 tie with Streamwood.

The Saints were awarded the tournament title, finishing 3-0-1, while Streamwood was 2-0-2. Points were awarded throughout the tournament for wins, ties, shutouts and goals, with a maximum of three per game, and the Saints outscored the Sabres, 32-25 by those rules.

"To be honest, I was disappointed because I didn't that we were able to play our particular game," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "It's tough with the wind in your face and the ball always in the air."

St. Charles East (10-0-3) had a goal waved off due to offsides with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half. It would prove to be one of just a few opportunities they'd create in the opening 40 minutes, despite having the wind at their backs.

"With the ball in the air that much we weren't able to move and get into position and connect as a team," Jennison said. "In the second half we were able to build up some confidence and keep the ball down more."

Streamwood (10-2-2) was unable to do much offensively for the final 40 minutes, and spent the majority of the time nullifying the Saints behind their back line and keeper Sergio Blanco.

"It felt good to stop them," Blanco said. "I just tried to do what I could to keep them at zero and give our guys a chance to beat them."

Blanco's determination nearly paid off as sophomore Brian Benitez had two prized possessions in the final five minutes. The first was refused by Saints backup keeper, Chris Lucatorto, who is filling in for Mike Novotny, who was injured in Thursday's win against Marmion and will be out at least two weeks.

The second attempt nearly snuck past Lucatorto, but he was able to leap high and punch it off the crossbar and out of play.

"I don't think we were really in danger until the last few minutes," Jennison. "We possessed the majority of the time and had a couple opportunities, but their keeper made some good saves."

The draw makes Thursday's rematch, an Upstate Eight Conference River game, a must-see event.

A great rivalry is now in effect. Last year, the Sabres handed the Saints their only conference loss. The Saints then blasted the Sabres, 4-0, in the Class 3A York sectional.

"Isn't that great? We got to play a game like this and then come back in a few days and do it all over again for real," Streamwood coach Matt Polovin said. "It's a big conference game."

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