Boys Soccer: St Edward ousts Elgin AcademySt. Edward's Johnny Shepherd (8) celebrates his goal against Elgin Academy during the first half of their IHSA Class 1A Regional game at Westminster Christian Academy in Elgin Wednesday. October 10, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 10, 2012 9:14PM
St. Edward will be looking for its first regional title since 2004 when it faces a familiar foe in Westminster Christian on Friday.
The third-seeded Green Wave earned a shot at the top-seeded and host Warriors by knocking off second-seeded Elgin Academy 4-2 on Wednesday in Class 1A regional semifinal action. The Green Wave (9-12) lost to Westminster 2-1 early in the season.
“It should be a good game,” said St. Edward coach Tim Brieger. “We are like mirror images of one another and we’ve played each other a lot over the past several seasons so there will be no surprises. I think we’re playing pretty well right now.
“We play a tough regular season schedule to get ready for this, so hopefully it pays off for us. It’s probably going to come down to who can grab the early momentum and go with it.”
Against the Hilltoppers the score was tied 1-1 late in the first half when the Green Wave took control with a pair of goals in the closing minutes. St. Edward went on top 2-1 at the 4:30 mark when Alex Semler stole a clearing pass on the Elgin Academy end and passed to Carlos Moreno, who beat the Warriors goalie for the go-ahead score.
Just over two minutes later, St. Edward padded the lead on a goal by Johnny Shepherd off an assist from Joe French to make it 3-1 at the break. The two had earlier hooked up on the Wave’s first goal when French scored the game’s first tally on an assist from Shepherd.
“That was the momentum push we needed,” said Brieger. “It was pretty even up to that point. We just started doing a better job of getting the ball out wide. From there, we were able to isolate on defenders and attack from the wings.”
Elgin Academy (6-4-4) didn’t go down without a fight. And after controlling play for much of the way in the second half, the Hilltoppers pulled to within 3-2 on a goal by Jonathon Shen with 10:25 left to play.
However, St. Edward answered right back just over a minute later as Eduardo Carachure scored an insurance goal on an assist from Shepherd.
“We fought hard on the field today,” said Elgin Academy coach Juan Silva. “But it has been difficult this season to fight through all the injuries we have had. We have lost some of our best players and have had to start nine freshmen. Today our inexperience showed and made too many mistakes.”
Billy Gracik scored the Hilltoppers first goal.
Matt Hesch had six saves in the goal for St. Edward.
The Green Wave and Warriors face off at 4 p.m. Friday for the title.