Defending state champion Warren saw its season come to an abrupt end Tuesday night.
Fifteenth seed Buffalo Grove (6-8-6) shocked the No. 2 Blue Devils 1-0 in a Class 3A regional opener at Palatine.
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Coach Rick Carlson's team advances into the regional final this Friday against Mid-Suburban League rival Palatine, which later beat Mundelein 3-0.
"Coach told us it didn't matter this was a No. 2 vs. No. 15, and that we were better than the seed we received," said Bison junior Zach Masciopinto, who proudly wears the captains armband along with seniors Allan Santiaguillo and Daniel Ramirez. "So we went out there and outworked (Warren) from start to finish, and now we're moving on."
"That was all the incentive we needed tonight -- we sure didn't play like a team with such a low seed," added BG's Drew Brauner, who collected a helper from Masciopinto and unloaded a 30-yard smash which curved around the outstretched gloves of Warren keeper TJ Hill and into the corner of the net at 59 minutes.
"Our Achilles' heel all season long has been our inability to get into the back of the net, and tonight illustrated just how much of a problem we've had scoring," said Warren coach Jason Ahonen. "And that, along with a nice effort from Buffalo Grove, is what led to a much too early exit in the postseason for us."
There was plenty of good energy from both clubs in the first quarter hour, with the trio of Jin Kwon, Nick Haas and Mikey Cain impressing for the Blue Devils (10-6-7) while Masciopinto, Brauner, Sean King and Pat Tucharski did the same for the Bison.
A lovely ball out of the back from Hans Haller nearly put Masciopinto in, and if not for a stout tackle from Hector Salazar, the junior likely would have scored. This, and a glorious chance by Kwon to beat Bison keeper Ricardo Valencia, ended a frantic final few moments of the first period.
Buffalo Grove looked sharper as the second half got under way, which began with Masciopinto finding the post with a header.
The Brauner goal opened things up some, with Warren finding a little more energy as the Bison searched for a 2-goal advantage.
Valencia was called upon twice in the final quarter hour to save his mates, his second stop coming on a wonderful snap shot from Lucas Geib.
Mike Kotylar cleared a dangerous ball out of the area after Rafa Macias and Mikey Pliskat helped create a chance following the Geib attempt. But the Bison back line, which was composed throughout, kept the Blue Devils far enough away from Valencia down the stretch to record a big win.
"We play in a conference where you're in a battle every time you go out there, and it's those games that help prepare you for a night like tonight," said Carlson. "From the very beginning and right until the end, the guys played hard, with a lot of heart and energy, and that was the difference."