ROMEOVILLE – Morton’s stellar defense entered with 20 shutouts. Naperville Central had not been shut out all season.
The Redhawks’ offense got the best of the match between two of the top programs in the state, winning 2-0 in a Class 3A soccer super sectional at Lewis University on Nov. 5.
After a scoreless first half, Central broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when Jay Tegge whipped a corner kick tight into the penalty box and it swung around Morton goalkeeper Ian Chacon and inside the far post. Central scored again four minutes later and Morton had no answer offensively.
“They got six, seven [players] that have the speed and the skill and they move without the ball tremendously,” Morton coach Mike Caruso said of Naperville Central. “I thought we battled and did what we could in the first half. We had a couple great chances down there, and with the wind we knew we needed at least one if not both of those two chances to go in to give ourselves a shot. Nothing to hang our heads about. They’re a good team.”
Morton entered the match with shutouts in all four playoff games and clean sheets in eight of the previous nine matches. Chacon and the Mustang defense couldn’t hold back the Redhawks, which had the better run of play for most of the match.
The super sectional was a rematch of the 2011 state title game, which Morton won 1-0. The win gave Central its third straight appearance in the state semifinals.
“Over the last three years they’ve been down there, but I think this is their best team all-around,” Caruso said. “Sometimes you just got to tip your hat and say they played a great game.”
The Mustangs finished the year 25-3 with a perfect record in the West Suburban Gold and made a run to the final of the Pepsi Showdown for the second year in a row.
Seniors Luis Alvarado and Edgar Garcia were a part of the 2011 state championship team and leave the program as two of the most successful players in the program’s history. Alonso Fregoso and Chabelo Marquez also had standout senior seasons.
Morton has plenty coming back next season, though. Juniors Chacon and Mario Romero will enter next year as four-year varsity players. Jovany Garcia, Edgar Garcia, Hector Luna, Leo Delgado and Edgar Olaguez were all big contributors to the team that will also be expected to return.
“A great season for our guys and we got nothing to hang our heads about,” Caruso said.