BURLINGTON – The Wheaton Academy boys soccer team defeated Burlington Central, 6-2, on Friday to claim the IHSA Class 2A Burlington Central Sectional championship.
The Warriors controlled most of the match, which became more physical as the game went on and field conditions worsened because of persistent rain. Junior Reid Culberson opened up the scoring with 32 minutes left in the first half on a scramble for the ball in front of the Burlington Central net. Ty Seager put the Warriors up, 2-0, on a breakaway goal about midway through the first half.
Wheaton Academy senior Casey Zimmerman scored two goals, one in the first half and another to lead the Warrior attack in the second half. Zimmerman said the conditions were just something that the team had to deal with in stride.
“We knew when we got here that it was going to be a tough pitch, a tough pitch to play on,” Zimmerman said. “We realized that we can’t let the pitch dictate the pace of the game, and we went out and did that and played pretty well.”
Wheaton Academy advances to the Class 2A DeKalb Supersectional on Tuesday and will face either Peoria Notre Dame or Morton.
Both teams will face each other today for the Morton Sectional title.
Zimmerman credited junior Grant Rougas with setting up the offensive attack and allowing him to score two goals.
“Two great balls, especially the second one by Grant Rougas, he just chipped it perfectly over the back line,” Zimmerman said.
Wheaton Academy coach Jeff Brooke praised the Warriors ability to finish and consistently put the ball in front of the net for their success.
“Obviously we felt like we were able to have a couple nice finishes by the way that the individual players struck the ball,” Brooke said. “The combination play got us pretty deep in to the box and allowed us in all honesty to get good looks at the corners of the goal.”
Sam Hardey and Michael Ruff also scored for Wheaton Academy.
Burlington Central senior Matthew O’Connor had both goals for Burlington Central. O’Connor said that Wheaton Academy simply was able to execute better on both sides of the pitch.
“They just came out well, they came out attacking, they finished a lot of their opportunities,” O’Connor said. “We just didn’t get lucky on a lot of them.”
Burlington Central coach Mike Gecan expressed pride in his team, which set several program firsts, including going undefeated in conference play.
“Just a great group of guys. A tight knit senior class and then I’ve got a junior class who gets to look up to those guys,” Gecan said. “What happens today hopefully is a building block for next year, you always hope as a coach.”