Boys Soccer: Hinckley-Big Rock falls in state semis
By Greg Shashack For Sun-Times Media October 26, 2012 8:16PM
Updated: October 26, 2012 9:27PM
NORMAL — The Hinckley-Big Rock boys soccer team knew what was coming Friday night at The Corn Crib.
And the Royals still were unable to stop it in a 4-3 loss to the Alton Marquette Catholic Explorers in the semifinals of the Class 1A state tournament.
“There were no surprises today,” H-BR coach Paul Taeuber said of the Explorers’ strength off set plays. “All the people, all the scouting reports, you could see it in their warm-ups, they practice corners and they’re tough in the air. … They were tougher, a little taller and they held their ground.”
Marquette, which converted both of its two corner kicks into goals, overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit with three unanswered goals in the second half. The Explorers, winners of 11 straight, improve to 18-6-1 and will play for their first state championship at 5 p.m. Saturday against Urbana University High. H-BR drops to 22-5 and will play for third place at 3 p.m. Saturday against Rockford Keith Country Day.
The Royals owned play early and nearly took a lead when Bernie Conley’s free kick from 30 yards banged off the crossbar and landed just outside the goal line. The Royals followed with a header off the rebound, but that shot at an open net sailed high.
Four minutes later, Marquette struck on Noah Johnes’ headball off a corner kick from Matt Hampton for a 1-0 Explorers lead.
“From the way my team’s played, generally speaking,” Taeuber said, “we come out and if we score first it’s a different mentality.”
That psychological edge was now Marquette’s, though the Royals responded with goals by Zach Michels and Conley to take a 2-1 lead to the half. The goal was the 35th for Conley and the 19th for Michels.
But a Royals attack that came in averaging nearly four goals a game went dormant while Marquette took control in the second half. Nick Schranck’s header for a goal, off a rebound following Adam Johnes’ header off the post, tied the match at 2-2 less than two minutes into the half.
Hampton put Marquette up with a goal at 57:58 and struck again nine minutes later to extend the Explorers’ lead to 4-2. H-BR pressured late and got within 4-3 on Billy Weissinger’s goal off a rebound from Conley’s hard shot off a dead ball with 6:30 left, but the equalizer never came for the Royals.