ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles East boys soccer team has another reason to enjoy homecoming this coming week.
In addition to the regular festivities planned, the Saints will celebrate winning the St. Charles East tournament for the first time during coach Paul Jennison’s tenure.
East defeated Plainfield Central, 3-1, on Saturday to take the top honors.
“It the first time I’ve been a winner,” said Jennison, who had the first-place trophy tucked under his arm. “This year, we put a nice little run together. A great week of work here.”
Jennison credited the team’s defense for winning the tournament.
“We are better in the back,” he said. “We are not giving up goals. It makes it a lot easier to go forward when you have confidence in the guys in the back.”
“The plan was to defend first; they have a ton of speed,” Plainfield Central coach Kevin Fitzgerald said. “We were going to try and take our chances (on offense). I think we got enough of them, we just didn’t put enough of them home.”
The Saints (10-2-1) took an early lead, scoring in the second minute of the first half. Junior Andrew Shone knocked the ball in on a feed from Kevin Kurtz.
East extended its lead to 2-0 on a goal by sophomore Jordan Moore at the 21:57 mark.
Plainfield Central (6-7-1) scored its lone goal on a free kick with six minutes left in the first half. Senior Mohamad Rashid kicked the ball over the line of Saints defenders and past goalkeeper Chris Lucatorto.
The flow of the game in the second half was disrupted by several officials' timeouts.
“That was more to our advantage,” Jennison said. “We weren’t looking to get anything more.”
The Saints got in rhythm enough to score their third goal. Zach Manibog kicked the ball in on a pass from T. C. Hull 31 minutes into the period.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Manibog. “It was a good pass and I got the finish.”
One timeout called in the second half was when Saints goalkeeper Mike Novotny went down after being kicked trying to clear the ball from the penalty box. The junior replaced Lucatorto at the start of the period, which has been the norm this season.
Novotny sat out the rest of the match and Lucatorto returned to the nets.
“He got whacked on the ankle pretty good,” Jennison said of Novotny. “We will see on Monday how he is doing.”
Elgin edged Marmion, 3-2, on a penalty for third place. St. Francis dropped the fifth-place game, 2-0, to Plainfield South.
East returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Upstate Eight Conference River Division rival Geneva.