Boys soccer: Benet beats St. Charles East in season finale

 
By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/17/2021 6:00 PM

Preston Wray, Hans Haenicke and Sam Hepburn donned the dark uniforms for the Benet boys soccer team for a final time Saturday afternoon.

Returning starters on the Redwings' Class 2A state-championship unit, the triumvirate will not have the opportunity for any more postseason glory.

 

Instead, the trio had to be content to score one final goal for the program.

All three seniors scored in the first half of the Redwings' 4-1 nonconference victory over St. Charles East on the last day of the abbreviated season.

Benet (14-1) ended the season on a 13-match winning streak.

The Saints had their campaign close at 12-4-3.

"I'm glad to spend 80 minutes with my friends and get one last win," said Haenicke, who was instrumental in Benet scoring twice in a 157-second span in the opening half.

Haenicke delivered a perfect cross to Wray, whose sliding effort to redirect the ball into the Saints' goal broke a scoreless draw in the 19th minute.

Moments later, Haenicke was credited with a score when his almost identical feed to Wray was mistakenly knocked in by a St. Charles East defender.

"Both runs were great runs by Hans," Wray said. "I didn't know if I was going to be able to get there (on the first goal). He was going around the corner the whole game and giving us great scoring opportunities."

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"I tried to hit it at the back post, and it got lucky," Haenicke said of his final career goal. "I'm glad we got that goal. It was a great way to end off the season. We had a great win."

Conversely, legitimate scoring chances for the Saints were few and far between in the opening half.

The Redwings extended their lead to 3-0 with 3:15 to play before the intermission as Hepburn had a special final goal as well.

A midfielder, Hepburn rocketed a blast from 20-plus yards away on an awkward angle on the left side. The ball not only had movement but also velocity. The shot was simply unstoppable as it found its desired destination where the post and crossbar intersect at the left-hand corner.

"We had a solid core coming back," Hepburn said of his fellow state veterans. "We had to make the best of it. With this group of guys and these seniors, we couldn't have done any better than this."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

St. Charles East averted the shutout when Sebastian Carranza and Alex Mancera collaborated on a give-and-go score late in the match.

"I received the ball from Alex Mancera," Carranza said. "He clipped it to me a little over the defender. I just toe-poked it over the goalie."

The Redwings' Caden Schultz had an improbable goal from a considerable distance away to cap the scoring.

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