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Wheaton Academy boys soccer ‘hungrier’ this time

The Wheaton Academy boys soccer team is headed to a new venue for this year’s IHSA Class 2A Boys Soccer state semifinals, and the Warriors are hoping for a different result, too.

The Warriors advanced to last year’s state semifinals – which took place in south suburban Frankfort – losing to Peoria Notre Dame in a penalty-kick shootout. Fresh off a revenge victory against Notre Dame in a supersectional Tuesday, the Warriors are on to a state semifinal today against St. Ignatius at Hoffman Estates High School.

Wheaton Academy coach Jeff Brooke hopes the experience of last year’s state disappointment pays dividends this weekend.

“We were ready to play, but it was also new, everything about it,” said Brooke, whose team ended up with a fourth-place finish in last year’s tournament. “We’ve got a lot of returning guys, seniors, who will go into [today’s match] a little hungrier.”

Wheaton Academy (22-3-1) has won each of its five postseason matches by at least two goals, although the Warriors barely hit that benchmark Tuesday. Wheaton Academy clung to a 1-0 lead for almost the whole match before a last-minute goal from Ty Seager provided the 2-0 final margin.

It was one of 26 goals on the season for Seager, twice as many as the next closest Warrior (Sam Hardy, 13).

Seager attributed the Warriors’ success this season to their cohesiveness.

“We really play together,” Seager said. “There’s something on the back of our shirts, ‘ST’ – we play for that, we play together. It means stronger together. Our team, we try to play for something greater. It’s great to get a plaque, but a plaque just [reflects] how hard we work.”

Wheaton Academy heads into the state tournament on an 11-match winning streak, with an Oct. 4 loss to Chicago Vocational, 3-2, marking the team’s last defeat.

St. Ignatius (18-5-2), meanwhile, reached the state semifinals despite a 1-3-1 start to the season, with all three of its early losses coming in a tournament in Quincy.

The defensive-minded Wolfpack have allowed one goal so far this postseason, and have only one player (Bryan Long, 12 goals) with a double-digit goal output.

IHSA Class 2A Boys Soccer Final Four

At Hoffman Estates HS

Friday’s semifinals

Wheaton Academy (22-3-1) vs. St. Ignatius (18-5-2), 11 a.m.

Chicago Washington (13-1-8) vs. Rochester (21-5), 1 p.m.

Third-place match, 11 a.m. Saturday

Championship match, 1 p.m. Saturday

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