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Boys Soccer Playoffs: Mount Carmel holds off Washington for sectional title

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By Steve Millar
Correspondent

Mount Carmel survived an upset bid from Kankakee in a Class 2A Brother Rice Sectional semifinal, prevailing 4-3 in overtime.

But the poor defensive effort was a wake-up call for a Caravan team that has prided itself on shutting teams down all year.

“That was way too many goals,” Mount Carmel senior goalkeeper Andres Comp said. “That should have been a shutout. Coming back, we knew what we had to do and we knew we couldn’t get scored on.”

Mission accomplished in the sectional championship game.

Comp made five saves and got plenty of help from his defenders as the top-seeded Caravan held off second-seeded Washington for a 1-0 win in the Class 2A Brother Rice Sectional final on Oct. 28.

“It all started the day after (the semifinal game), in practice,” Mount Carmel senior defender Sebastian Palma said. “Coach (Antonio Godinez) was really pushing us and enforcing how we should be locked in. We can’t take any moments off during the game.

“The whole practice we were zoned in. Coach was really on us the whole practice. If we messed up or anything, he was really critical about it. I think that’s what really helped us out for the (sectional championship) game and the playoffs.”

Sophomore Brandon Razo scored off an assist from junior Jose Guzman for the lone goal for Mount Carmel (14-3-5), which won the program’s fourth sectional title and first since 2018.

The Caravan advanced to play Solorio (20-3) in the Class 2A St. Laurence Supersectional at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Washington, which took third in the state last season, finished 13-6.

Razo’s goal ended a wave of frustration for him. He has scored a few goals in the playoffs but has not been satisfied with his play this postseason.

“I knew I needed to take better shots in those games and pass the ball better,” Razo said. “I need to look for my other players and help them.”

The goal came in the 15th minute.

Guzman played a terrific pass out of the midfield, springing Razo free down the left side of the field. Razo outran a defender and slipped a shot into the net.

“Jose sent me a through ball,” Razo said. “I went right and left and shot it. I was going to shoot for the second post but it went first post. I’m glad it went in.

“It was about time for me.”

Mount Carmel’s defense took it from there, with Palma, Nico Mullen, Dominic Gadilinski and Ryan Nichols leading the way in front of Comp.

“The key was working together,” Mount Carmel coach Antonio Godinez said. “I told the guys this morning that together we’re stronger. We’ll defend as a group and attack as a group. They stuck to the game plan.”

 

Vikings fall in finals
St. Laurence advanced to the championship game of the Class 2A sectional it hosted, beating Payton 3-1 in the semifinals.

But the Vikings were eliminated by Solorio for the second straight season, falling 4-3 in the sectional final match.

In the win over Payton, junior forward Diego Lugo came off the bench to provide a goal and an assist for St. Laurence (19-3-4). Lalo Perez and Jonathan Esparza also scored as the Vikings jumped to a 3-0 halftime lead.

“The guys were up for the task at hand and we showed it in the first half with three goals,” St. Laurence coach Jaime Alonso said. “I told them it was going to be a tough second half mentally and we can’t let our foot off the gas. I think we managed the game well and now we’re going on to the sectional final.”

Lalo Perez sparked the Vikings in the seventh minute.

Edgar Perez — who is unrelated to Lalo — sent in a cross that was broken up by Payton goalkeeper Ulises Zepeda, but Zepeda lost the ball and Lalo Perez crashed in for the rebound and slammed it in.

“We came out ready to play,” Lalo Perez said. “It’s the brotherhood that we have. We love each other. Our chemistry is insane and that’s what’s helping us the most.”

The Vikings scored twice in a 25-second span late in the first half to break things open.

Lugo scored on a shot from 15 yards off an assist from Pedro Mendez with 2:39 left in the half.

Moments later, Lugo caused more problems for the Payton defense, getting behind a defender and getting tripped up in the box to draw a penalty.

Esparza ripped in the penalty shot and the Vikings had a 3-0 lead and were well on their way to victory.

Sophomore goalkeeper Michael Calderon had four saves for St. Laurence.

The Vikings’ season came to an end in a wild sectional championship game.

St. Laurence again scored three times in the first half, getting goals from Nate Lara, Lalo Perez and Ulises Garfias.

Garfias’ goal on a header with 10:42 left in the first half gave the Vikings their only lead at 3-2.

Solorio (20-3) battled back to tie the game before halftime and scored the only goal in the second half of a 4-3 outcome.

 

Stagg, Shepard lose in semis
Junior Bart Jaskowski scored twice for Stagg, but the Chargers fell 3-2 to Romeoville in a Class 3A Lockport Sectional semifinal.

Twice, Jaskowski answered following goals by Romeoville’s Demian Martinez.

But Martinez’s brilliant strike from 40 yards that snuck under the crossbar with 16:35 left completed his hat trick and lifted Romeoville (26-1-1) — which went on to win the sectional title — to the win.

“I knew what we were up against,” Stagg coach Mike Kealy said. “I thought we executed the game plan. We had our chances. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that you have to have a little bit of luck on your side at this point. I’m nothing but proud of these guys.”

The Chargers (20-3-2) won the SouthWest Suburban Red championship and their first regional title since 2014.

“They were very confident from the start,” Kealy said. “Not cocky, but confident that they could compete with anybody. They’re like a family, in a good and bad way. They get on each other a bit, but they’re there for each other and they love each other and they love this program.”

Shepard, meanwhile, fell 5-1 to Bloom in the other sectional semifinal.

Zaid Jaber scored off an Aidan Breslin assist for Shepard (18-8), which won the South Suburban Red championship and its second regional title in four seasons.

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