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Coach: Sean Wesley
Assistant coaches:
Manny Aguilar, Martin Uscila
Nick Senak Jr., GK
Konrad Bayer So., GK
Theo Athanassiades Sr., M
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Michael Rindler Sr., M
Michael Manganelli Sr., M
Steven Lobkovich Sr., F
Kyle Kenagy Jr., F
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Jonathan Mojica Sr., M
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Andrew Heaton Jr., M
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Patrick Cleary Jr., M
Trenton Wray So., M
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Matt Emerick Sr., D

Redwings fall in 2nd semifinal at Hinsdale South



By Matt Le Cren

Hinsdale Central won the Silver Brick by beating Lyons Township 3-0 on Sept. 28.

But Lyons took home the gold Tuesday night on a much bigger stage, shocking the unbeaten and top-seeded Red Devils 2-1 in the Class 3A Hinsdale South Sectional semifinals.

Matt Murphy scored on a penalty kick in the first half, Frankie Kocimski tallied early in the second half and the fourth-seeded Lions held off a furious rally to advance to Friday’s 4:30 p.m. sectional final against No. 2 seed Morton, which edged No. 3 Benet 1-0 in the other semifinal.

“We just wanted it,” LT goalie Peter Nolan said. “Every single thing has been leading up to this and we wanted it so much, every single one of us.

“We were thinking about this non-stop. We wanted them to win [their last game] so we could play them again. We knew we had to give it literally every single thing we had, so we gave everything we had and it paid off.”

Both defenses were outstanding and allowed nothing for the first half hour. Then Murphy was obstructed in the penalty area with 9:40 left in the opening period. The senior forward drilled the resulting penalty kick off the hand of Hinsdale Central goalie Wes Bergevin and under the crossbar for his 21st goal of the season.

Bergevin, an All-Stater, made just two saves but both were brilliant stops, the first a leaping effort to deflect an open seven-yard shot from Spiro Kass around the right post in the sixth minute and the second another athletic jump to tip a tough header from Will McGowen over the crossbar two minutes after intermission.

The Lions (17-2-3) extended their lead at the 31:20 mark of the second half when they capitalized on a 3-on-2 counterattack, with Kocimski knocking home a quick cross for a 2-0 bulge.

After that it was all Hinsdale Central. The Red Devils (20-1-2) threw everything they had at the LT defense but Nolan and the back line led by Kass and his brother, Peter, as well as Emilio Godinez and Joe Lupano, stood tall in a typically physical contest for the two rivals.

“I think it was one of the more physical games,” said Nolan, who was involved in several nasty collisions. “Personally, I don’t think I played my best. I think some guys on defense stepped up big. They covered my back and then we got lucky once when it hit off the crossbar.”

Nolan made eight saves and aggressively defended his box against a slew of dangerous balls. He got help from Spiro Kass and Godinez, who both cleared shots off the line.

Godinez was in charge of marking Hinsdale Central star Christian Meyer and held the senior star to just three shots. Meyer scored the only goal for the Red Devils on a header with 21 seconds left to avert what would have been the first shutout suffered by Central this season.

“Every kid that stepped on the field did a great job,” LT coach Paul Labbato said. “The kid that made the difference today, the kid that stepped up, was Emilio Godinez. He marked Meyer, he broke out of the back and kept getting in the box, headed a ball off the line.”

Given the rivalry, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the Lions pulled the upset. Even Hinsdale Central coach Mike Wiggins said they earned it.

“I don’t think we looked that bad,” Wiggins said. “I think it’s just how the game played out. Give them a lot of credit. They connected passes well, they found ways to attack and take our guys on.”

Indeed, the Lions fought hard for every 50-50 ball, as did the Red Devils. Nolan said that was the main difference from the first meeting.

“The first time we played them it looked like we didn’t want it,” Nolan said. “It was like they outplayed us. It looked like we were jogging to balls. It didn’t look like we were going as hard as we possibly could.

“But this time we understood what it took and we knew that the stakes were high and this time we just knew that we had no other choice because this was all we had left. This is a great rivalry and they took the Brick this year, so hats off to them, but we got it when it mattered.”

Despite the earlier-than-expected exit, Wiggins said his squad, which will return seven starters next year, has made its mark.

“Sometimes you just have to stop and say, ‘you know what, it was a good game played by two good teams,’” Wiggins said. “We had no quit in us, as evidenced by us fighting all the way to the end and getting that goal to pull within one.

“I can’t say enough about our guys. They’re just a solid group. Our seniors were tremendous. They showed great leadership.

“Every day was a treat to come out with these guys and they will go down as one of the best teams in the history of Hinsdale Central. That’s something that they’ve earned.”

Benet coach Sean Wesley had similar sentiments about his squad, which overcame massive graduation losses to win conference and regional titles thanks to a prolific offense that produced 74 goals, almost 3.4 per game.

The Redwings (17-4-1) scored at least two goals in all but five matches and were shut out only twice. But they couldn’t get anything past Morton goalie Ian Chacon, who made three saves and squelched a slew of other chances in the second half.

“They have tons of skill at every position,” Wesley said. “They played well together, they’re very organized. They didn’t let up a lot.

“I think [Chacon] is the best goalie we’ve seen all year. A lot of things that have worked for us in every game we’ve played this year, he just cut out. He must have cut out five or six chances that Kyle [Kenagy] or [Michael] Rindler or Eddie [Manzke] would have normally got on. He came fast off his line, read the game very well, dominated in the air in the box and that took away chances and tonight we needed those extra chances to score.”

Morton (26-2) took advantage of a quick restart on a free kick along the right wing to score the game’s only goal. Leo Delgado ran onto the pass from Luis Alvarado and tucked a 15-yard shot inside the far post with 7:41 remaining in the first half.

“We went quick on a free kick and Leo kind of got a step and he went to the far post,” Morton coach Mike Caruso said. “It was a great goal.

“Then we had to hold them off. [Rindler] and [Kenagy] are quick. They were a handful up there and I thought our defense battled and battled those guys because they were as fast as we’ve seen all season and they didn’t quit.”

Rindler and Kenagy combined to score 46 goals this season but neither got a shot off during the first half. They combined for five in the second half, two of which sailed just wide of either post.

“I was confident,” Wesley said. “I thought it was just a matter of time before [the equalizer] was going to come. We created chances and we certainly played better in the second half and the kids played inspired.

“This was just that one game where you can’t find a way to get it done and unfortunately it’s the last one because that’s the way playoffs work. We said we had to be great in the moment to win today and it was like we were an inch off the whole game.”

Even so, Wesley was proud of what the Redwings accomplished this fall.

“Obviously you love every team you coach but I would say the character and the effort with this group was a coach’s dream and I think that was the reason we had the results we did and we put in ourselves in a position to win a game like this,” Wesley said. “This senior class was amazing was top to bottom, all 14 guys.”


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