ST. CHARLES – Friday night’s matchup between the St. Charles North boys soccer team and Hoffman Estates gave the North Stars the chance for a postseason win in an otherwise difficult season.
The North Stars came into the match as No.16 seed in the IHSA Class 3A St. Charles East Sectional while the Hawks entered as the No. 17 seed, with the winner getting the chance to extend their season by at least an extra few days.
The North Stars slipped past the Hawks, 2-0, and will face crosstown rival St. Charles East in the 3A St. Charles East Regional semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The winner of that match will face the winner of the other regional semifinal match between Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg in the championship match Friday.
The opening half found both teams going back and forth up and down the field with the Hawks only managing one shot on North Stars senior net minder Billy Larsen.
The home side would not do all that much better as the North Stars could only get off three shots in the opening 40 minutes of play against Hawks sophomore goalkeeper Christian Peralta.
The second half found the North Stars with more of the advantage, which would eventually lead to their breaking through against the Hawks.
North (3-11-3) grabbed a 1-0 lead with 13:07 left in regulation when, off a free kick taken by Nick Graham from the midfield area, the ball found the head of Hope College recruit, Phillip LeGare. From 10 yards out, LeGare headed the ball past the out-stretched right arm of the Hawks goalie and into the top of the Hoffman Estates net.
“It was such a great feeling to win this game tonight,” LeGare said. “I think we were just trying in the second half to keep doing what we were doing and be persistent in our attack. It was really just a matter of connecting those passes in the second half. I mean we did have some chances in the first half, but we just didn’t finish.”
The 6-foot tall Legare would strike for a second time with 7:49 left in the match when he outran a Hawks defender into the penalty area and curled a right-footed shot past Peralta from 10 yards out for the 2-0 advantage.
“I liked the second goal I scored tonight, actually,” LeGare said. “I think because I was able to beat the defender to the ball and curl it into their net. It was nice.”
The North Stars will now get the chance to upset their crosstown rival next week and try to avenge a 1-0 defeat earlier this month.
“I think we have just been so close in a lot of our matches this year,” North Stars coach Eric Willson said. “It has just been a matter of getting the kids to believe in themselves that they can win.”