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updated: 11/2/2013 9:10 PM

Lake Park surprises St. Charles East

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Twenty was the lucky number for Lake Park's soccer team Saturday afternoon.

Junior forward Oliver Horgan's second-half goal off a corner kick from teammate Joe Keane enabled the Lancers to knock off top-seeded St. Charles East 1-0 in the Class 4A sectional finals held at Gary Scholz Stadium in Schaumburg.

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The second-seeded Lancers, who captured their first sectional championship in 20 years, advance to Tuesday's Bartlett supersectional at Millennium Field against Larkin, which defeated McHenry 1-0 in Saturday's Huntley sectional title clash.

"The last time Lake Park won a sectional was 1993," said Lancers coach Anthony Passi. "And this was our 20th victory -- the most victories in a season in school history."

Wisconsin-bound senior midfielder Mike Catalano helped set up the corner kick with his 40-yard blast that was punched over the crossbar by St. Charles East goalkeeper Chris Lucatorto.

Keane then sent the corner kick toward the net and Horgan slipped through the defense for the go-ahead header with 27:13 remaining in the second half.

"One of their guys was just standing in front of me and not paying attention so I told Joe (Keane) to speed it up," said Horgan, who now has 16 goals for the season. "I got behind him and the ball was perfect right to my head."

"We couldn't find a lot of gaps but when we did we put the ball away," said Passi. "After that went in, you could sense it on the bench -- we just got more pumped."

The Lancers (20-2-3) were already plenty pumped looking to make amends for their 5-1 loss to the Saints back on Sept. 10.

"This game has been on our calendar," said Catalano.

"The big thing is about earning respect and I think we earned that respect today," said Passi. "We're not the same team as the one that faced them in our fifth or sixth game of the season.

"We're a different team with Steven (Mack) in the net and we're different in the back line," the coach added. "It took us a few games to get comfortable in the back. In that (first) game against St. Charles East, we were still feeling it back there."

Lake Park, which enjoyed a 12-6 first-half shot advantage, nearly took the lead in the 10th minute of the match only to have Catalano's point-blank rebound turned aside by Saints defender Kevin Heinrich.

Meanwhile, Lancer defenders Anthony Devereux, Gustavo Contreras, Riker Tithof-Steere and Carlos Torres combined with midfielders Giovanni Ciaccio, Kevin Coria, Catalano and Keane to silence the high-powered Saints, who had scored 11 goals in their 2 previous tourney games.

"We were in their hip pocket all the time," said Passi. "Our defense was like a wall out there. They didn't get many shots on frame tonight."

St. Charles East, aiming for its second straight sectional title, managed just 6 shots on goal.

"I hate to say it but we picked the worst day of the year to have our most abysmal performance," said Saints coach Paul Jennison. "At the end of the day, the best team walked off here as the winners today.

"On the big stage, you've got to bring it and if you don't you find yourself going home," added Jennison, whose team finished 20-2-4.

Daniel DiLeonardi, 1 of 11 seniors on the Saints' roster, had a pair of scoring chances in the final minute, including a right-footed rocket that Mack tipped over the crossbar with 10 seconds remaining.

"On a different day, that's in the top corner but sometimes the stars aren't shining on you," said Jennison.

Meanwhile, the Lancers are now 16-1-1 over their last 18 games.

"It's unbelievable how everything is falling into place," said Passi.

"We've got three games left to win it all," said Catalano.

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