Boys soccer: Undefeated York beats Wheaton North to win Hillner Classic

By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/4/2021 5:45 PM

Junior Frank Rofano bagged the game-winner on the half-hour to help York secure a hard-fought but well-deserved 1-0 victory over Wheaton North Saturday morning to win the Norm Hillner Classic at Krupke Memorial Stadium on the campus of Lake Park East High School.

The Dukes (5-0-0) -- whose dominance over the field at this annual tournament saw them go unbeaten in their four games during this past week, outscoring its opponents 17-1 -- recorded three shutouts.


"That might be the best team we'll see this season," said Wheaton North coach Rob Stassen, who himself has a very good club, which on this particular day ran into a Dukes side that can attack, with speed, and purpose, create chances, while also having an airtight bunch along the back.

"(They) had us in our end for nearly the entire first half, and could have put maybe one or two more into the back of our net. But we made some changes at the break, and played much better in the second half, especially after we went a man down for the last 15 minutes."

"(Rob's) keeper was fantastic, and likely saved a couple of goals for us. We did a lot of things really well, but we were not very sharp in the final third, which is something we'll continue to work on," said Dukes coach Jordan Stopka.

The Falcons (4-1-1) held out until the half-hour when Rofano, just brought on for Stopka, tricked his way free before steering his effort to the left of keeper Sam Wakeman who had no chance to stop Rofano's sublime finish.

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Wakeman was brilliant all throughout, turning around a PK attempt from Joe Hernandez in the 71st minute, and again, two minutes later with a fearless challenge off his line to stop Jose Herrera.

The Falcons showed plenty of urgency and pace after the break, but we unable to create a dangerous enough chance to get back level, despite their effort after losing one of its own following a second yellow card booking in the 69th minute.

"We played really well in the first half, but we could have finished our chances when we created (them). But it was still a good week for us (which) ended with us winning the tournament," said Dukes senior Connor Bare.

Next up for Bare and his teammates will be Oak Park-River Forest on Tuesday at home in its West Suburban Silver opener, while the Falcons are away on Tuesday in their DuKane Conference opener at Batavia.

"We did some very good things today that we'll look to take into Tuesday against Batavia, which we're looking forward to," said Stassen.

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