Poised Saint Viator takes
down top-seeded Antioch
Three first half goals trigger Lions' sectional victory
By Rusty Silber
GRAYSLAKE -- With each match, Saint Viator keeps finding a challenge in the postseason. The Lions found another one Wednesday night in their opening game of the Class 2A Grayslake Central Sectional.
Fifth-seeded Saint Viator scored three times in the first half and let its defense take over to stop top-seeded Antioch 3-0.
"We're a five seed and keep on chugging," Saint Viator coach Mike Taylor said. "We'll be the little train that thinks it can. We'll see what happens. We play the No. 1-seeded team and were the No. 5-seeded team. We work as hard as we can and come away with a win."
Aidan Williams scored a pair of goals, and the Lions got another one from Zach Gyuricza.
"I thought we had some good stuff, and my defense played well," Taylor said. "We also put the ball away and executed some dead-ball situations. We do what we have to do and it works. I don't think there was any lucky goal. I thought there were some good goals there."
Saint Viator (19-5-1) will next take on second-seeded Marian Central (18-3-1) for the sectional championship at 11 a.m. Saturday at Grayslake Central. The Hurricanes won their semifinal match 2-0 against No. 3 seed Grayslake North.
The Lions will have a rematch with the Hurricanes, who beat them 1-0 in Arlington Heights in an East Suburban Catholic Conference match Sept. 24. Saint Viator won its final six league games, including the finale against Benet Academy, to capture the ESCC. Marian Central fell out of the race for the league title with road losses to Carmel and Nazareth.
On Wednesday, the Lions struck quickly with a goal in the first two minutes. Williams scored with a header off an assist from Chris Beiersdorf.
""I know I flicked it, and I really didn't know that it went in," said Williams, Chicagoland Soccer's Man of the Match. "In our program, we've done that for a lot of years. They have a way of working; we execute and get it done."
Williams tallied the second goal, his 18th of the season, in the 36th minute. Beiersdorf set it up with a corner kick off a head flick from Javier Romero that Williams finished with another header.
Saint Viator added another just over a minute later. Gyuricza was able to get a foot on the ball near the back post and send it off a Sequoits defender for a 3-0 advantage.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions had to be aware of Antioch's top goal scorer, Iven Hernandez. He came into the match with 35 goals for the season and 102 career goals. But Beiersdorf knew what had to be done for the Lions in the back.
"With the help of the midfielders and the wideouts, I knew we could get the job done here today," Beiersdorf said. "I was told to man-mark (Hernandez), but I didn't do that in the second half and I didn't think it was a problem."
Antioch (16-8) was a formidable opponent for Saint Viator, but the Lions appear to be ready for any team these days.
"We play a strong schedule to be ready for playoff time," Taylor said. "Any team we see isn't going to be stronger than any team we've seen on our schedule. That's why we play that strong schedule. We want to get the kids ready for the playoffs. Our kids were prepared and ready to play today."
However, the Sequoits had their share of chances even before the Lions extended the lead before the end of the first half. But Antioch just couldn't get many shots on goal. Saint Viator goalkeeper Aaron Tres earned a clean sheet with three stops.
"We've got to get one and we had five corner kicks," Antioch coach Marni Polakow said. "We gave ourselves a chance but didn't capitalize. We were pressing and pressing. If we didn't capitalize, I knew that we wouldn't win this game. Three down was too hard to come back."
GK: Aaron Tres
D: Javier Romero
D: Brandon Braun
D: Chris Beiersdorf
D: Sean Lonigro
MF: Miles McDonnell
MF: Zach Gyuricza
MF: Ryan Carroll
MF: Anthony Pineda
F: Aidan Williams
F: Patrick Hickey
GK: Alex Ruano
D: Jordan Keller
D: R.J. Ruano
D: Eric Pedersen
MF: Logan Bouker
MF: Danny Brito
MF: Thomas Furlong
MF: Iven Hernandez
MF: Danny Helgesen
F: J.R. Lonergan
F: Krystian Streit
Man of the Match: Aidan Williams, Saint Viator
Officials: Jeff Ryder, Timothy Reger, Steve Sarto