Antioch has the will and finds a way a win sectional soccer title
By Bryan Bonato For Sun-Times Media November 2, 2013 7:26PM
Vernon Hills' Jeremy Cohen (white jersey) and Antioch's Eric Pedersen race for the ball during Saturday's match. | Dave Shields/For Sun-Times Media
VERNON HILLS 1
Vernon Hills 0-1—1
44th minute — A: Jon Bohmann PK (Sequoit tripped in the box)
48th — A: Danny Brito (pass from Iven Hernandez)
52nd — VH: David White (headed home perfectly placed ball from the corner by Matthew Hong)
ROUND OF 8
Tuesday, 7 o’clock at Stevenson — St. Ignatius from Chicago 917-5-2) vs. Antioch (18-4-3) winner advances to state semis on Friday morning at Hoffman Estates High)
Updated: December 5, 2013 6:16AM
Available online through the IHSA website is the complete list of every IHSA-sanctioned tournament won by a sports team in the history of Antioch High School.
Under the “boys soccer’ heading, the line next to “sectional championships” is blank.
It won’t be blank anymore.
Playing its heart out and defending like crazy late against a Vernon Hills team that had the better of the play, Antioch’s magical postseason run continued with a 2-1 victory Saturday that earned the Sequoits the first sectional championship in school history.
Next up is a Tuesday match at 7 o’clock at Stevenson High against St. Ignatius from Chicago. St. Iggy is 17-5-2, with three of its losses coming during a Labor Day weekend tournament in Quincy way back in September. Since then, the Wolfpack has lost only to Fenwick and Lincoln-Way West, and tied Francis Parker and Oak Park-River Forest.
Antioch (18-4-3), which wasn’t even the top seed in a four-team regional, has cornered the market one one-goal victories in this tourney, beating Lakes 2-1, Grayslake Central 3-2, and now Vernon Hills by the slimmest of margins.
“These boys are so special. They’ve done nothing but put the effort in,” said Sequoits coach Marni Polakow. “Was it our best game? No. But we persevered. We played survivor in the first half, and let them hang around, but we put away the two chances we got. Then we held strong.
“This is how we’ve done it. We don’t quit. We might not play our best all the time, but we don’t quit. We just go. Eventually it came, and now we’re moving on to supersectionals. It’s a great feeling.”
Here’s how the game unfolded, with all the scoring coming after intermission:
■ Antioch senior keeper Tommy Tritschler (7 saves) was able to keep the Sequoits in the game while his teammates struggled to get things going.
■ In the 16th minute, Vernon Hills had a goal nullified on an offside call. Jeremy Cohen headed a ball that beat Tritschler and looked like it was going in, but Caleb Shaw, who had been in an offside position, slid at the goal line and redirected it.
■ Antioch was finally able to put some pressure on the Cougars late in the first half, then carried that into the second. The Sequoits were awarded a PK after a tripping call in the box in the 44th minute, and captain Jon Bohmann buried it lower right for the 1-0 lead.
■ Four minutes later, Danny Brito took a pass from Iven Hernandez and seemed to have all day in the box to turn and fire off a shot that beat Vernon Hills keeper Jonathan Ramirez.
■ In the 52nd minute, Vernon Hills made it 2-1 when David White headed in a perfectly placed ball from the corner by Matthew Hong. An Antioch defender headed the ball back out, but the linesmen ruled it had crossed the goal line.
■ Antioch scored on its only two significant chances of the day, and when Vernon Hills pressed after falling behind, the Sequoits were able to chew up clock on the counterattack.
After the victory celebration and plaque presention, Bohmann summed up the game and his PK (he was not the player tripped in the box).
“Being a part of history at Antioch, it’s just a phenomenal feeling,” he said, and then added this about the PK that opened the scoring: “There were so many things going through my head. I’ve taken many penalties in my life, and this was one of the most nerve-racking. Before I kicked I calmed myself down, composed myself, and just focused on what I had to do, and that was score.”
The rest actually was in the hands of Antioch’s keeper and Tritschler was razor-sharp on exactly the right day to be that way.
“He’s a senior. He’s a leader. It’s his box, and he’s been working super-hard to make it his box,” said Polakow. “He single-handedly kept us in that game and gave his teammates a chance to put goals in in the second half. And they did. They came through for him.”
On the other side, Vernon Hills finished 12-7-2 under new coach Mike McCaulou, who was the longtime coach at Grayslake Central before this season.
“I’ve been around the game of soccer now for 30 years, whether it be collegiate, pro, high school, youth, club, and that’s soccer,” the coach said. “The best team doesn’t always win. It’s the way the ball bounces, silly mistakes, not capitalizing on the mistakes in your favor.
“We outpossessed and outplayed them the first 40 minutes, and to not to come away with a goal, and have one called back ... There are no excuses. We were prepared We played well enough to win, and we played well enough to lose, because we didn’t get some bounces today.”
The coach also is now a huge fan of Antioch as it goes forward in representing the North Suburban Conference.
“I hope Antioch goes on and represents this conference and our county well,” McCaulou said. “We had two teams from the same conference playing for a sectional championship. I think it’s great.
“Congrats to Antioch and all their boys. They showed class throughout the whole year. They stuck to their guns. They play very direct. They took us out of the game a little bit in the second half. They have big, fast athletes and they try to pounce on you and pound you.”