Stevenson’s run ends in state semis
Naperville Central goal keeper Mike Pavliga stops a shot by Stevenson during the state semifinal game Nov. 2. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2012 11:20AM
FRANKFORT — Stevenson’s boys soccer team never knew what hit it. Naperville Central controlled possession from the opening minute and rode its superior ballhandling skills to a 3-0 victory in the Class 3A State Semifinals Friday night.
The Redhawks (23-1) mustered the first several shots of the game and were rewarded when a defensive breakdown allowed forward Pat Flynn — the team’s leading scorer — to camp out in front of the net in the 11th minute. Flynn cashed in top shelf with his 30th goal of the season to hand Naperville Central a 1-0 lead.
“We knew that if we jumped on (the Patriots) early, that they’re a great defensive team, so it would kind of force them out of their shell a little bit,” Flynn said. “We started to exploit some gaps in their defense.”
The Redhawks refused to let up, launching a free kick on net a minute later. In the 14th minute, forward Sam Raskala danced along the right sideline, drawing out his defender before sending the ball right over to midfielder Jack Patrick, who slotted a roller into the right side of the net.
“I saw it the entire way,” Stevenson keeper Quentin Low said. “But he shot the ball to my right side and I was already diving that way, and then my defender put his foot out and clipped it, and I was already going that way, and it started spinning to my left. My momentum was already going one way, so I had to recover the other way and I just couldn’t get there in time.”
Naperville Central capped the scoring in the 31st minute with a pass from Flynn to forward David Murphy, who sent a knee-high laser beam just inside the left post.
The Patriots (18-5-1) — who overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat Libertyville in the final of the Hoffman Estates Sectional en route to making their first-ever appearance at state — kept trying, but their best chances zoomed just wide of the net.
The Redhawks will face Warren (20-5-3) for the state title at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Blue Devils downed Sandburg 3-0 earlier Friday. Stevenson will take on Sandburg (18-6-3) for third place at 5 p.m.
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Stevenson boys soccer team.