Scoring first was Timothy Christian's best friend this season, but unfortunately Tuesday night in the Class 1A Lisle supersectional at Benedictine University, it switched sides and went over to Chicago's Francis W. Parker High School.
The Colonels' Noah Wolff broke the game's deadlock with 18:10 left in the contest and that was all that was needed as the 1-0 victory sent F.W. Parker to the state finals that begin Friday in Normal.
"We have 12 wins this season and nine of them came when we scored first," said Trojans coach Rudi Gesch. "When we don't score first, it doesn't look good."
Timothy Christian was looking for its first trip to state since 2009, when it won the 1A title. Gesch said the Trojans needed a better performance Tuesday to accomplish that.
"We didn't play our best game. We were disjointed. We didn't win the 50-50 balls. Frances Parker deserved this victory," he said.
The two teams met during the regular season in Chicago, battling to a 0-0 draw, but Gesch said one could not take anything away from that meeting to prepare for this contest as high winds affected play in that game.
The Colonels turned on the offensive pressure the moment the clock started moving in the first half as Wolff went on a breakaway just seconds into the game. F.W. Parker led in shots on goal 9-3 in the first half and 15-6 for the game.
The Trojans' best scoring chance of the first half came courtesy of Ben Lodewyk, who rushed toward the net as F.W. Parker goalkeeper J.P. Pereira-Webber came out to meet him to make his first save as the two collided.
Timothy Christian senior goalkeeper Michael Wieringa, who didn't play the position until this season, finished with 14 saves.
"It was his best game of the season. He bailed us out. It could easily have been 4-0," Gesch said.
The Trojans' defense eased some of the pressure the Colonels were putting on it in the second half and F.W. Parker coach Neil Curran praised Timothy Christian for being able to make second-half adjustments includng tryng to contain the Colonels' midfielders, who were very successful in feeding passes to the team's quick forwards resulting in many breakaways.
"They did a nice job of trying to move the midfielders up and over to the side and they caught us a couple of times," he said.
The best scoring chance for Timothy Christian in the final 40 minutes came about midway through when Wesley Ditchfield muscled his way around two F.W. Parker defenders for a clear shot at Pereira-Webber, who was able to stop the shot.
Gesch said his team is obviously disappointed at not reaching state. But they will have the satisfaction of getting further than they did last season.
"We set a goal this season of a sectional championship. We lost in the sectional semis on this very same field last year," he said.