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Article updated: 10/13/2013 12:25 AM

St. Charles East clinches UEC River

By

The Macek name is nothing new to the St. Charles East defense.

Now scoring, that's a bit of a different matter.

Senior defender Cooper Macek's header off a corner kick was the lone goal on Saturday night as the visiting Saints edged host St. Charles North, 1-0, in the Upstate Eight River Conference finale for both squads.

St. Charles East (17-0-4, 5-0-1) needed the victory to finish ahead of Batavia (14-3-2, 5-1-0) for the conference title.

"People had looked at the standings and asked me once or twice, 'If you lose tonight, even though you haven't lost all season, you'll not win conference?'," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "It was something hard to think about, so it was nice to see the lads respond well tonight."

Macek moved particularly well on one of 13 corner kicks received by the Saints. The North Stars didn't earn a single corner kick or have a shot on frame.

With 14:08 left in the first half, Macek dove through a crowd to deliver a header on Jordan Moore's corner kick. St. Charles North keeper Billy Larsen had no chance to deny it.

"It's a little different feeling scoring than keeping them out," Macek said. "Jordan (Moore) played a good ball in near the post and I saw it out there and jumped for it, dove for it, and just hoped for the best and it went in."

Macek, who has been a key contributor on a defense which has now shut out 14 teams this fall, is following in the footsteps of older brother, Michael Macek, last year's Daily Herald All-Area Team Captain, who led the Saints to a 20-3-1 record and a berth in the Class 3A supersectionals.

"I'm really happy for (Cooper)," Jennison said. "He got a knock at the beginning of the season, straining his MCL and has been playing catch-up. He had his best game in a Saints shirt and I'm so proud of him. He stepped up to put one in and defended like a champ, like his life depended on it."

St. Charles North (2-11-2) found itself chasing the Saints all evening long, but never let the match get away. That's something the North Stars have done all season even though they haven't gotten great results.

"We've been playing with teams all year long and just one game was 4-0, the rest have been one-goal games," North Stars coach Eric Willson said. "I'm not sure if this gives us any more confidence, but we've got to figure out a way to put the ball in the back of the net."

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