How a team responds to adversity in a third-place game can make or break a team.
Consider two squads that lost heartbreaking games less than 24 hours ago and then had to redirect their ambition toward a non-championship trophy.
It can't be easy, but Wheaton Academy certainly made it look that way. The Warriors broke open a tight game in the second half to beat St. Patrick 5-1.
Wheaton Academy coach Jeff Brooke, coaching his third consolation game in six years, had never won one.
"This is a tough game to get up for," Brooke said. "I'm really proud of our guys. I told them it would take a lot of maturity and leadership and I thought we had a couple of guys raise the standard for how we were going to play and everyone fed off that and we raced through the 80 minutes."
The Shamrocks scored their lone goal midway through the first half from Luis Saucedo, but the Warriors bounced back 27 seconds later to tie the game on an unassisted goal from Grayson Harris.
"I thought it was kind of a little against the flow of the play," Brooke said. "More of a frustration to it rather than an alarm. The guys responded and that was a great shot from Grayson. He slotted it low and hard on a slick surface so it was a really good leadership play by him."
Wheaton Academy (24-5) took the lead for good with 30:48 remaining in the game when Owen Setran's cross to Seamus Kilgallon was transported into the back of the net for a 2-1 advantage.
That put a great deal of pressure on St. Patrick to try to net the equalizer. While the Shamrocks attempted to do so, the Warriors took advantage and extended their lead before breaking the game wide open late.
"We were down 2-1 and we had a couple of balls right on the goal line and almost tied the game," St Patrick coach Kyle McClure said. "The final score wasn't indicative of the game. We pulled up one of our defenders and they got a goal off that because we were playing for the tie."
St. Patrick (23-6-2) was frustrated on offense. Wheaton Academy limited the Shamrocks to only six shots on frame.
"We were just trying to put pressure on the ball because we didn't want their center mids to get any space," Warriors senior defender Owen Hardy said. "We just wanted to come out strong. We knew that we were disappointed about yesterday, but we didn't want to come in fourth (place), so it was really just our last game and let's try to win this thing."
Wheaton Academy senior Luke Holwerda scored twice in 31 seconds with about five minutes remaining to make it 4-1 and to finish the year with 34 goals.
"We knew it was going to be our last game as seniors, so we put yesterday behind us and gave 100 percent," he said. "We had a lot of confidence coming in. Even after they scored, we bounced right back and worked on getting things done one final time."
Quinn Partain finished off the scoring with 26 seconds left in the game.
Jack Kilgallon and Owen Setran both had a pair of assists for the Warriors.