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updated: 10/26/2013 9:15 PM

Antioch keeps adding to special season

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

Iven Hernandez and his Antioch soccer teammates have put together a special soccer season.

The Sequoits stretched their record to 16-4-3 by edging Lakes 2-1 in Saturday's Class 2A Lakes regional final. It was the first time Antioch beat its district rival.

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No. 2 Antioch scored twice in the second half. Hernandez notched his 32nd goal of the season and assisted on another, while Eric Pedersen scored the game-winner.

Antioch will next play Grayslake Central (16-2-2) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Grayslake North sectional semifinals.

The Sequoits won their first regional final since 2009 and broke Lakes' five-year run of regional titles. The Eagles finished 12-7-3.

"This was unbelievable," Antioch coach Marni Polakow said. "These boys really deserved it. They don't know what it's like to beat Lakes.

"It means a lot to them," she added. "They're leading this team and doing what they're supposed to be doing. Everybody has come together."

Since earning a 3-3 draw with Barrington in the Freeport tournament, Antioch is 8-1-2 with its only defeat being a 1-0 decision against Libertyville.

"We changed formations," Polakow said. "We made a couple of changes and the boys have come together. The kids bought into it and it's made coaching very easy. We made more for structure and getting behind the ball more. Getting more organization and getting more people in the right positions made us more successful offensively and defensively."

Lakes jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the 14th minute when Richard Galat fed a ball to the middle and Joey Savino finished it.

Antioch had a couple of chances to either tie the game or take the lead with a couple of shots that found the framework before the end of the half.

The Sequoits finally broke through midway through in the 62nd minute. Hernandez took a ball down the right side into the penalty area and fired a shot into the back of the net.

"To be honest, I was stopped in the first half," Hernandez said. "The second half, I wasn't going to let that happen. I just wanted to get the ball and score."

Hernandez stepped up again 10 minutes later with a corner kick that he placed in the middle of the penalty area. Pedersen got his head on it for the game-winning goal.

"We didn't have much time left and we had to score," Pedersen said. "We all had to win the ball. Luckily, I got my head on it. I just wanted to hit the ball the hardest I could to the opposite side of the goalie."

Lakes had its opportunities to score in the first half and had a couple of shots in the last eight minutes. But Antioch's defense held up.

"We had our chances," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said, "We just didn't finish them. We had direct kicks and free kicks. You have to something out of those opportunities and we didn't. In the end (Antioch) got too many throw-ins, too many balls in the box. Antioch played hard and did the best with their chances. Sometimes the game doesn't fall your way and you have to tip your hat to the other team."

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