Boys soccer: A day later than expected, but Stevenson moves on

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/21/2021 8:45 PM

An extra day off because of a weather postponement didn't bother the Stevenson boys soccer team one bit.

Fifth-seeded Stevenson rolled past No. 12 Zion-Benton 4-1 in the Stevenson Class 3A regional semifinal in Lincolnshire on Thursday afternoon.

 

The teams had to endure a 1 hour, 40-minute weather delay because of lightning on Wednesday before the match was moved to Thursday.

"The boys were able to step into multiple challenges (Wednesday) and (Thursday)," Stevenson coach Pepe Jon Chavez said. "They did it as brothers with Stevenson and did it with allies and brothers with Zion-Benton. What I witnessed in the delay with my team was who my team is and who their team is. They were juggling together in the hallway (inside the school) and sharing pizza. It wasn't about the soccer. That's what makes our conference so great. Yet we battle, and yet we're brothers."

Back on the field Thursday, the Patriots (14-2-4) scored a couple of quick goals early in the first half off the leg of Kohei Mori, who added an assist later.

"Early goals change moments," Chavez said. "Set piece goals change moments. Those are the things you work on the white board. Those are the things you spend the extra time on and when your boys pull it off, it's amazing to see it as a coach."

Mori scored the first goal in the fourth minute of play and followed it up with a second one in the 11th minute on a kick from 25 yards out for a 2-0 advantage.

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"I was dribbling and cut multiple times," Mori said. "I think I was able to open up space to shoot. I though it was a good goal."

Zion-Benton (8-8-3) got a goal back a minute later from Javier Hernandez that cut the lead to 2-1.

Stevenson scored twice in the second half -- Nazar Mormul on header off a corner kick from Mori in the 48th minute and Filip Landa in the 72nd minute.

The Zee-Bees have played the Patriots over the last few years to open the postseason and haven't found a way to get past them.

"It's a tough matchup for us," Zion-Benton coach Cliff Pontillo said. "They're well-coached, a lot of great talent. It's a matchup that we've got to be at 100 percent. We just made a couple of mistakes and they're so talented that they take advantage. We'll just try to be better next year."

The regional final will have 14th seed Buffalo Grove (7-10-2) against Stevenson on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Lincolnshire.

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