Lisle, Parker one step from title match
Updated: October 27, 2011 8:14PM
Lisle already has what the rest of the field wants and Parker is ready to take the next step.
With the Class 1A boys soccer finals kicking off with Friday’s semifinals at the Corn Crib in Normal, defending champion Lisle enters with a target on its back. Parker, which last qualified for the state semifinals in 2007, has a shot at immediate redemption.
With 10 returning starters from the team that defeated Peoria Christian 1-0 for the state title, first-year Lisle coach Kevin Perez was not about to do anything radical after taking over the program. He served as the top assistant to previous coach Paul Kohorn.
“[Kohorn’s] my mentor, and we do a lot of the same things as the past, with some slight differences, naturally,” Perez said. “I took the attitude if it wasn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Junior midfielder Pat Webb’s overtime goal was the difference in the Lions’ 1-0 supersectional victory over Hinckley-Big Rock Tuesday in Naperville.
The victory propelled Lisle into a 5 p.m. semifinal against Warrensburg-Latham (21-3-1).
Sophomore midfielder Eric Osika (17 goals, eight assists) and Webb (14 goals, 19 assists) are the offensively catalysts for the Lions (19-5), and Alhaji Kamara, Brad Blechschmidt and Cole Collins are the other key offensive weapons.
Last year, Lisle defeated Stilllman Valley 3-2 in overtime in the semifinals. “I thought they’d be coming back,” Perez said.
But Parker (16-8-1) jumped on Stillman Valley with two goals in the opening two and a half minutes en route to a 4-1 supersectoinal win at DePaul on Tuesday.
Edgar Bravo scored a goal 11 seconds into the match, and Ian Forrest scored twice, including a header off a corner kick in the second half after Stillman Valley cut the lead to 2-1.
“For us, the whole season has been about taking one more step each time out,” Parker coach Neil Curran said.
The Colonels enter the finals having won 14 of their last 16 games after a 2-6-1 start. One of the losses occurred Sept. 2 to Quincy Notre Dame (18-6-2), which Parker faces in the second semifinal.
Forrest (15 goals, 10 assists), Johnny McConnell (14 goals, 12 assists) and Ivan Parfenoff (14 goals) are Parker’s players to watch.
“Our school, being [kindergarten through high school] is a little different than most, and these kids were in eighth grade the last time we went down and I remember having conservations with several of them about how great it would be to come back,” Curran said. “Now we just have to go one step further.”