Boys soccer: Benet dumps St. Pat's to remain unbeaten in ESCC
The most important result of the season Benet Academy has seen thus far in league play occurred Monday night when the Redwings went into Read-Dunning Stadium and beat St. Patrick 2-1 in a thrilling boys soccer rivalry contest on the northwest side of Chicago.
Inspired by two spectacular second half goals by Hans Haenicke, the Redwings (8-1-1, 6-0-0) moved one step closer to their second consecutive ESCC championship.
"St. Patrick is a very good team. They kind of took us out of our game with their physical play and after struggling a bit in the first half, we came out and got two big goals to get ourselves an important victory," said Redwings' head coach Sean Wesley.
"Our plan coming in was to play as physical as we could in order to throw their game off from what they do so well which is to possess, create dead ball chances, and attack with speed and numbers," said St. Pat's head coach Kyle McClure.
"I thought we did a good job of forcing them away from what they do so well but it wasn't quite enough in what I thought was our best effort of the season."
The Redwings, who drew (1-1) with the Shamrocks (6-3-0, 4-2-0) in the fall of the 2019 season en route to lifting the ESCC trophy, were unable to put any quality chances on frame in the first half, but according to Wesley it wasn't for lack of trying.
In a regular-season game that had the feel of a sectional final for nearly 80 minutes, six yellow cards were earned, countless fouls were detected, and a handful of stoppages due to injury would be the norm.
Both sides tested the other, only to lack the sharpness needed in the final third, with neither keeper called into serious action.
Haenicke hit the opener in the 47th minute when, on the turn, he appeared to be suspended in air before unleashing a wicked left-footed volley into the back of the net.
The home side came back to equalize nearly ten minutes later when Xavier Gamez steered in his one-timer when the Redwings were unable to clear the area after a Shamrocks corner.
When it appeared this thriller was headed to overtime, up stepped Haenicke one more time, this time inside the six-yard box when he ran onto a near perfect cross by freshman Nick Roe from the end line.
"I just followed the play, then Nick, and got myself into position to get the game-winner for us," said Haenicke of his goal two minutes from time.
"It was a big game, and win for us, and one that hopefully helps us win the conference."
Benet welcomes Nazareth Academy Wednesday afternoon, while the Shamrocks go to St. Viator that same day.