Wheaton Academy hungry for something new
Wheaton Academy has been here before, but this time the Warriors broke new ground.
Playing in its third consecutive Class 2A semifinal, Wheaton Academy finally won one to advance to the program's first state championship game, dominating Springfield 4-0 on Friday afternoon at Hoffman Estates.
"I think there's been a hunger about this team that's been pretty unique just because we've been to this spot twice," Warriors coach Jeff Brooke said. "So I think from the get-go, all the way back in August, there was a desire to really get up each and every day to try to get to this point of excellence."
Springfield (25-4) dominated opponents throughout the regular season and continued that success in the postseason, outscoring their first five opponents 20-3. The Senators were shut out for only the second time all season. They lost for the first time since a 6-0 decision to Normal Community, a Class 3A state qualifier, in early October, but they couldn't hang with the Warriors (24-1-1).
"I thought if we could contain No. 20 we could maybe settle into the game and get going, but he's a horse," Springfield coach Pat Phillips said. "He scored two goals right away, and we came out and had some chances that just didn't fall. If we get that first goal (and it's) 2-1, then maybe the game changes, but they get that third one, a backbreaker."
That No. 20 is Ty Seager, who scored the Warriors' first three goals.
Seager struck first with 27:09 remaining in the first half, rising high in the box to redirect a Parker Setran pass via a header.
"I saw the ball and picked my head up and I saw that Ty was in the box," Setran said. "I just tried to place it as close to the goal as I could where Ty was and he made the run and finished it."
He connected again a little more than five minutes later on one of the team's 10 corner kicks, taking this one from Jacob Kapitaniuk and once again using his size and his head to send it past Springfield's sophomore goalkeeper, Evan Wright.
"It was good, and again, people were playing great and serving great balls in," Seager said. "Lucas (Hoepner) and Parker (Setran) and Kappy (Kapitaniuk) all were stepping up. It's great support and always encouraging."
Seager scored his 39th goal of the season with 19:23 left in the second half on a beautiful cross from Hoepner.
"I thought we came out an executed our system in a really good fashion," Brooke said. "We were great in the final third, and to get two corner goals like we did and for Lucas to drop a ball on the dime like he did for No. 3 was impressive on an individual level."
The Warriors also impressed on defense, limiting Logan Willard to only one shot on frame.
They'll take on undefeated St. Joseph (23-0-1) in Saturday's 1 p.m. state title game.