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Prep Zone

Schwab: St. Charles East, North boys soccer ready for championship showdown

The St. Charles East boys soccer team would love to bottle its performance from two weeks ago when the Saints see St. Charles North in today’s IHSA Class 3A Wheaton North Regional championship match.

East gave a convincing demonstration of why it is the top seed in the sectional Oct. 6 when the Saints dominated the North Stars, 3-0, at Norris Stadium.

But there is no guarantee East will be able to rev it up in similar fashion today, just as North might be able to raise its level while prowling for what would be a major upset.

“I thought we had a pretty good game against them last time,” East coach Paul Jennison said. “There’s no doubt we came out strongly and quickly, and I thought we had prolonged periods of pressure against them, but we’re under no illusions that last time’s result has any correlation with this one. It’s a completely new season.”

North has been the stronger program most of the past decade but, this fall, East (17-2-1) is playing the best soccer in the Paul Jennison era. The Saints’ team speed is a handful, and while junior T.C. Hull (25 goals) is enjoying a monster season, 18 of the 21 players on the Saints’ roster have scored.

Given the Saints’ superior depth and skill, expect North to be even more determined to play the physical-minded style that has worked well for the North Stars in past postseasons.

Jennison said the Saints have fared well this season against opponents that have sought to outmuscle them, but he doesn’t expect the match to turn into a card-fest.

“We’re not going to try and change [our style] to accommodate anyone,” Jennison said.

North (9-8-2) actually had the smoother ride Tuesday, when both teams played their regional semifinals. East was tied at halftime with Wheaton North before pulling away for a 3-1 win while North led for 76-plus minutes in its 3-1 victory against Glenbard North.

Invoking one of his many English phrases, Jennison said you can “throw out the form book” when the crosstown foes clash, regardless of seedings or expectations. Throw in the tension of postseason soccer, and today should be a crowd-pleaser.

“It’s been a very enjoyable season with the way we played,” Jennison said. “I like to think the last four, five years of work the boys have put into the program are [paying off] but certainly it’s one of those as we all talk about in any sport, when it comes to the playoffs. ... You never know what’s going to happen on any given day. We can only go out and play our game.”

Playoff pairings headquarters: Be sure to check tonight for coverage of the IHSA’s football playoff pairings announcement. We’ll have swift reaction from area playoff-bound coaches on their teams’ postseason paths.

If you don’t follow us yet on Twitter – we are @KaneCountyPreps – today would be a good time to do so. We’ll update area teams’ playoff draws fast and furious, with some analysis sprinkled in.

The fates of area teams should become known between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

If you’re a socially inclined Batavia-backer, you might want to swing by BHS tonight. A playoff pairings party is planned, beginning at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a snack or dessert and beverages they would like to drink.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or

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