Boys soccer: Morton ends Naperville North's four-peat bid

 
By Scott Schmid
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/5/2019 10:43 PM

During Naperville North's incredible run to three consecutive state championships, Morton twice lost to the Huskies in the supersectional.

On Tuesday night the Mustangs finally got their revenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Tied 3-3 through regulation and a pair of overtime periods, Morton (22-3-2) emerged with a 3-1 victory in penalty kicks at the Class 3A Romeoville supersectional and will play St. Patrick in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday.

Naperville North's bid for the second four-peat in state soccer history came to a close with the Huskies finishing with a record of 19-5-2.

"Obviously, it's always sad when it ends," said Naperville North coach Jim Konrad. "But if it had to end, I'm glad it happened to a team like Morton. We have a friendly rivalry with them; they are a fantastic program and their coach is a great guy.

"When you play sports, you have to accept this. We have been on the better half of things for so long. These guys have come through time and time again and they did tonight as well. The game could have gone either way, the ball just didn't bounce for us in the PKs."

Indeed, after Naperville North's Jason Barba and Morton's Andres Calderon made saves to begin penalty kicks, the Huskies had an attempt sail just over the crossbar and another hit the left post.

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The Mustangs' Cristian Perez, Jesus Perez and Saul Juarez all scored on their penalty kicks, while Patrick Koenig was the lone Huskie to convert.

"I just tried to stay calm," said Juarez, who made the game-winning kick. "Our coach always says that big games are for big players. For Naperville North to have this run, what they have done is great. For us to end it, it shows what we are as a team."

Naperville North, which lost to Morton 2-1 back on Aug. 31, led 2-1 at halftime on goals by Alex Barger and Koenig.

"It was a grueling battle back and forth," Koenig said. "They have a lot of talented individuals who play amazing as a team."

The Mustangs quickly answered back with a pair of goals in 51 seconds shortly after halftime.

The Huskies got the equalizer with 14:43 remaining, with Koenig again finding the back of the net off a cross from four-year varsity player and all-time school assist leader Ty Konrad.

"I can't be more proud of my team," Konrad said, "and our work rate and the way we battled to the end. Morton is phenomenal and they matched our work rate and came out on top.

"It's hard to explain (this run). It is something that is really unbelievable. Each year I have so many memories with people I love so much. It is tough to sum it up in the end. But just to be able to go to battle with your friends and come out on top is unbelievable."

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