WEST CHICAGO – Late in the second half of Wednesday night’s Suburban Christian Conference soccer match between Wheaton Academy and St. Francis, the large contingent of Warrior fans in the student section offered the crowd a rendition of “Silent Night.”
It was a very silent night for the Spartans offensively, as Wheaton Academy won a 3-0 shutout. St. Francis (10-7, 6-1 SCC) managed just four shots on goal in the contest and three of those came after the Warriors (13-6, 7-0) had taken a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Gareth Flynn.
“It’s a big week with homecoming,” Flynn said. “This was a big conference game against our main contender. That was our main issue right there, just getting the win for the conference.”
Flynn, a senior forward and team captain, scored the first goal just over five minutes into the second half when Grant Stoneman broke into the left side of the box and managed to slide a pass past St. Francis goalkeeper Bobby Rozner to Flynn, who spun to avoid a tackle and drilled a shot into the empty net.
Flynn scored again just seven minutes later on a breakaway off a long pass that forced Rozner to abandon the line.
“It was a ball over the top,” Flynn said. “I took a touch, saw the goalie come off his line and saw the chip was on. I just knocked it over the keeper’s head and it went in.”
St. Francis coach Kristin Keigley acknowledged that her team had some problems matching Wheaton Academy’s team speed.
“They are a very, very quick team and they do try to play off of that by playing a longer ball,” she said. “Our defense did a good job in the first half with intercepting that long ball. We had some problems with our offense defending to keep them from having those long balls.”
The Warriors lived in the box in the first half, but came away with nothing to show for it.
“I think it’s frustrating, but I think there’s a level of respect for what Francis is doing,” Wheaton Academy coach Jeff Brooke said. “They do a good job of getting numbers in the box. They’ve got solid defenders in the back, so it’s one of those things when we talked about it [at halftime] that we’ve got to just keep chipping away.”
Senior Karl Cassel scored the final goal of the night with 13 minutes left in the match, drilling a hard shot just inside the right post.