Wheaton Academy's experience wins out

By Allen Oshinski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/1/2013 9:58 PM

Rain and cold put a damper on the evening, especially for the home team.

Wheaton Academy probably didn't notice the weather that much. The Warriors created their own storm, raining goals on the way to a 6-2 win and the championship of the Class 2A Burlington Central boys soccer sectional Friday on Rocket Hill.

Casey Zimmerman scored twice and the Warriors built a big halftime lead and never let up.

The Warriors will meet today's Peoria Notre Dame-Morton winner at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the DeKalb supersectional.

"I'm proud of the way the guys attacked the frame," said Wheaton Academy coach Jeff Brooke. "They put the ball on frame. We stayed diligent to what we've been preaching since mid-August, so I'm just proud of the way they approached it as young men."

The Warriors, fourth in Class 2A last year, got on the board early when Reid Culberson pounced on a loose ball and rolled it into an open net from about 20 yards out.

The teams played relatively evenly for about 15 minutes, but Wheaton Academy struck again when Ty Seager scored on a breakaway in the 25th minute.

Zimmerman's first goal and another by Sam Hardy broke the game open in the final 7 minutes of the first half.

The cold, wind, and light rain on Rocket Hill did not make for ideal playing conditions, but both teams seemed to handle the weather with aplomb.

The Warriors got conservative in the second half, but added to their lead when Zimmerman got free on a breakaway and got the angle on Central goalkeeper Brett Rau.

The Rockets (22-3), who set a program record for wins in a season, finally got on the board in the late going, with Matt O'Connor scoring twice in the final 8 minutes.

Matt Ruff added an insurance goal for Wheaton Academy (21-3-1).

Brooke said that the Warriors' tough schedule, including many larger schools from DuPage County, prepared them well for the pressure of a sectional final.

"We put our schedule together to try and get better each and every day," he said. "We just feel like it prepares us for these moments. We've played a lot of games at night, under pretty bright lights, with pretty big crowds. I'm just thankful that the experience we've had helped us tonight."

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