CAROL STREAM -- No. 3 seed St. Charles got its postseason campaign into gear on Wednesday in Carol Stream as the Fighting Saings stormed past 14th-seeded Hoffman Estates 4-0 in the regional opener at host Glenbard North.
St. Charles East (16-7-0) opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Logan Lewarchick converted his spot-kick after teammate Griffin Counts was brought down inside the box.
"Getting the first goal in any game is really important, but in the playoffs, it's even bigger," said Lewarchik. “I think after that we settled in, we played some pretty good soccer.”
The Saints added a second goal four minutes later when Lewarchik’s through-ball sent in Aiden Mahoney, who dragged the ball past a Hawks defender before his composed finish from 12 yards.
"I have a lot of trust in Aiden, who did a great job with his run to get on the end of my pass to make it 2-0," said Lewarchik.
Hoffman Estates could have pulled one back in the 25th minute if not for a magnificent double-save by Saints keeper Jordan Rolon.
First the senior rejected a point-blank blast from Aeddan Ledesma. He then stymied sophomore Luis Maestre-Rangel, who collected the ball after it spilled free.
A well-driven, left-footed free kick from Counts into the box found Connor Sychowski, who sent a precise shot past Hawks keeper Roberto Sanchez for a 3-0 lead.
"We played really well today against a very good St. Charles East team," said Hoffman Estates manager Sean Armstrong. “We played with a lot of heart and passion, and we had two great chances not go our way.
"We didn't agree with that PK they were given. It really gave them the momentum at the time. Nonetheless, I was very proud of the effort the guys gave today."
Armstrong was thrilled to see senior Daniel Cabrera play after missing extensive time to an injury. He pointed to a young core coming back in the fall of 2024, beginning with Maestre-Rangel.
Hawks senior Angel Hernandez went close at 53 minutes, but Rolon was there to help preserve his 10.5th clean-sheet on the season.
Moments after being brought on, freshman Huxley Kapoor ended the scoring with an angled effort from the right side.
"We started so much better than we have of late," said Lewarchick. “The backline played really strong tonight, and our possession was good as well. Now we have to keep it going in the regional final."
The Saints will play no. 11 Conant (10-10-3), who upset Glenbard North 1-0 in the second game of the night.