St. Charles East finishes off Wheaton North
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St. Charles East's boys soccer team certainly made a believer out of Wheaton North coach Tim McEvilly Tuesday night.
"I don't know if offensively there's a more dangerous team in the state of Illinois -- I certainly haven't seen it," McEvilly said after watching the Saints (20-1-4) record a 5-0 victory over his Falcons (7-12-1) in the Class 3A Schaumburg sectional semifinals at Gary Scholz Stadium.
"This is the most clinical group of finishers I've ever seen in my life as far as high school soccer players," McEvilly added of the top-seeded Saints, who will aim for their second consecutive sectional title Saturday afternoon against either No. 2 Lake Park or No. 3 Elk Grove.
"If they get a clean shot on goal, it's in 90 percent of the time where with most high school kids it's 10 percent of the time. It's unbelievable the way they finish and the efficiency with which they put the ball in the back of the net."
It didn't take long for the Saints to put the ball in the net, as sophomore Evan DiLeonardi sent a blast past keeper Alex Jiskra just 3 minutes into the contest after the Falcons were unable to clear the ball from their own end.
"It (the early goal) put us in a good position to press and look for more," said senior forward Daniel DiLeonardi.
The elder DiLeonardi made it 2-0 midway through the first half when he converted off a picture-perfect feed from junior midfielder Taylor Ortiz.
"Taylor (Ortiz) played a good ball that made its way through and I was able to tap it in," said DiLeonardi.
With 2:05 left in the opening half, Tyler Robbins put a loose ball away in front of the net for a 3-0 halftime lead.
St. Charles East didn't let up the rest of the way, either, as Jordan Moore knocked in a penalty kick following a hand-ball call in the box, and senior midfielder Andrew Shone capped the scoring with a second-half goal with an assist from Zach Manibog.
"It was nice to put one together," said Saints coach Paul Jennison, whose team outshot the Falcons 26-3. "I thought that was our most all-around game of the season in terms of (there) not being a drop-off with substitutions and the lads attacking and defending at both ends."
While 5 different Saints scored goals, senior keepers Chris Lucatorto (2 saves) and Mike Novotny (1 save) combined for the shutout. It was Novotny's first game action since suffering a lower leg injury in a collision with a Marmion player on Sept. 26.
"It's nice to score goals but the biggest thing tonight for me was the zero," Jennison said of the shutout.
"And to have the whole squad play in this game is such a confidence booster. It's a fantastic character builder for your team."
The Falcons' best offensive threat occurred midway through the first half when Connor Ritchie's breakaway was thwarted by a sliding Lucatorto.
After posting regional shutout wins over fifth-seeded Glenbard West and fourth-seeded Glenbard North, the 12th-seeded Falcons were no match for the Saints.
"I thought we did some outstanding stuff even tonight," said McEvilly. "I don't know if we can defend all that much better.
"The kids have been on board since Day 1," added McEvilly. "As a coach, I can't ask for any more commitment to the development of the team."
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