NAPERVILLE – The Marmion boys soccer team’s defense did all it could to keep Wheaton Warrenville South off the scoreboard for less than 70 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to come away with a victory.
Javier Rojas’ goal with 10:46 left in the second half was the only score in the IHSA Class 3A regional semifinal to advance the Tigers (12-8-2) to Saturday’s regional final against Naperville North. Rojas was freed up for a breakaway scoring chance by a long ball off the foot of Max Carey.
“They’d been playing a high line,” said Carey of the Marmion defenders. “I tried to get a through ball and get the ball behind and Javy just made a great run. I just gave him the ball and he finished it.”
Marmion senior keeper Brian Hymel had little chance at making a save on the play.
“The wind was really a factor, I think,” Hymel said, referring to a strong southerly breeze that was at the Tigers’ backs in the second half. “The one they scored on was a good ball, the wind took it a little, he got the touch outside the 18 where I couldn’t grab it and he put it in. It was a nice bury.”
Carey agreed the wind was a factor.
“We had the wind advantage the second half,” he noted. “That was a little help. We could get the big balls over the top a lot easier.”
Hymel had seven saves in the match and received support from Marmion’s back defensive line, especially junior defender Luke DeSimone.
“We knew coming in they were going to be well-organized and very disciplined,” Wheaton Warrenville South coach Guy Callipari said. “DeSimone did a great job in the back for them, anchored everything and won a lot of balls that typically Max and Yusuf [Yusuf] win.”
The Cadets had scoring opportunities, especially in the late portion of the first half, but could not get a shot past Tigers keeper Tim Reinders, who made four saves.
Marmion coach Ricky Del Toro said his squad was a little nervous in the opening minutes of the contest.
“We start three seniors, a lot of sophomores and freshmen,” he said. “After about 15 to 20 minutes, they started picking it back up and they started playing the way they know how to play, and it looked a lot more even.”
Del Toro said the Cadets have a bright future and Hymel agreed with that assessment.
“I think this is going to be a great team,” Hymel said. “Like coach just said, we’re only starting three seniors, so this is a very young team. I think we’re going to be able to compete next year and the following years in 3A with these teams.”