St. Ignatius ends Antioch's run
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It was one amazing season for Antioch, whose boys soccer program broke new ground by reaching the supersectional.
The Sequoits were also one of the best eight teams in their class in the state. And when it mattered most, in Tuesday's Class 2A Stevenson supersectional, Antioch didn't flinch.
Keeper Tommy Tritschler (5 saves) came up huge, stopping a penalty kick in the 64th minute that went off the leg of St. Ignatius' Matt Quass.
"You just have to stay calm during those," Tritschler said. "I just looked on YouTube, watching the professionals. You have to compose yourself and get everything out of your head, go from there and read the player."
None of that completely eased the pain of a 1-0 loss to St. Ignatius, but Antioch leaves the playoffs knowing it delivered its best effort.
"I thought we would get the momentum back and we did, for a little bit," Tritschler said. "Once we got down to the last five (minutes), it was a struggle. Props to St. Ignatius, they played phenomenal in their defense."
The Wolfpack (18-5-2) meets Wheaton Academy (22-3-1) in the Class 2A state semifinals at 11 a.m. Friday at Hoffman Estates High School. It's the first trip to state in 15 years for St. Ignatius.
The Sequoits (18-5-3), meanwhile, will reflect on an outstanding postseason run that was spurred by some terrific leadership.
"Our seniors brought us this far this year," Antioch coach Marni Polakow said. "They're the reason that we went this far, and they held it together for us. I think our juniors learned from them and I think they can put it together for next year."
Those seniors included Jon Bohmann, Danny Lonski, Alex Furlong, Brandon Schwarz and Tritschler.
"It was amazing what we did, and it was school history," Polakow said. "Being almost a 100-year-old school and never having done this, it's pretty cool. I hope as a coach I can do it again. I know the boys hope they can do it again. It takes a lot of hard work -- the chaos, keeping them fit and keeping tabs on them socially. This makes it worth it and makes it fun."
St. Ignatius got its goal in the 21st minute when Bryan Long beat a couple of Antioch defenders with a move to his left and found an opening.
"I thought we had the quickness and a little more ball skill," St. Ignatius coach James Luzzi said. "We were able to possess, and that threw their defense off a bit. I thought we were able to create and (Long) finished. We caught them on their heels a little bit."
The Sequoits had their best chance to tie the game in the final 30 seconds before the half, with a ball that skipped by after an opportunity near the back post.
Antioch tried to push for the equalizer during the second half but couldn't get a clear shot on goal.
"We accomplished a lot this season," Tritschler said. "This was a good game for us. Obviously, we're upset with not winning. But hey, we made it this far. An awesome accomplishment and a great year overall. We have nothing to be ashamed of. Things just didn't go our way today."
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