Boys Soccer: St Viator falls short in semifinal
Updated: November 2, 2012 5:35PM
St. Viator senior forward Troy Wheeler pounded his fist into the turf after his shot from point-blank range was stopped by Urbana goalie Brian Summers.
That play with 7:40 left in Friday’s Class 2A state semifinal epitomized how the day went for St. Viator, which fell to Urbana 2-1 at Lincoln-Way North. The result put Urbana in its first state championship game, where the Tigers (21-2) will play Peoria Notre Dame, which edged Wheaton Academy 2-1 on penalty kicks in the other semifinal.
“I didn’t really expect to get through,” Wheeler said of his missed chance. “I had a little cut and at that point I was a little off-balance and I just wanted to get the shot off before another defender came.
“I just had to put that away and I didn’t. It could have been a different game if I put that away.”
That wasn’t the only missed opportunity for the Lions (20-4-3), who outshot the Tigers 14-6. Summers made six saves and defender Jonathan Lukusa had another when he booted Wheeler’s 23-yard free kick off the line with 16:00 left.
Lukusa had given Urbana a 2-0 lead two minutes earlier when he ran onto a long ball from Brian Lopez and chipped a shot over the head of onrushing Lions keeper Michael McGrath. The ball slowly bounced several times before rolling into the net.
The Tigers scored their first goal in similar fashion at the 29:29 mark of the first half when Miguel Fierro sent a long feed over the St. Viator defense to David Anderson on the back post for another chip-shot tally.
“We had opportunities; just really couldn’t put them away and they finished their opportunities,” Wheeler said. “[Had] we put away our chances it could have been a different game.”
The Lions, who had a goal disallowed by an offside penalty late in the first half, didn’t go down without a fight, as Wheeler scored on a header off a cross from Spencer Moore with 1:37 remaining. St. Viator mustered two other shots in the closing minutes but both were blocked by the Urbana defense.
“The first 10 minutes we came to play and then we stopped after a while from there,” said St. Viator coach Mike Taylor, whose team had won 11 of its previous 13 matches. “You’ve got to play the whole game and play every day the same way, so I’m a little disappointed in the result, but at the same time, [I told the players] we’ll come back tomorrow and play and show the people in the stands how good you really were, because you didn’t show how good you were today.”
“We’re a far better team than we showed, but kudos to [the Tigers]. They did what they had to do and put the ball in the back of the net.”