Lincoln-Way East feeling super after bouncing Stagg
Updated: October 29, 2011 9:07PM
The Cinderella run continues for Lincoln-Way East.
In a hotly contested match that was scoreless for 120 minutes, the Griffins came out as sectional champions after topping Stagg 5-4 in penalty kicks.
East (10-10-5) advances to a 7 p.m. Tuesday contest against Morton (21-3-1) in the Class 3A Benedictine University Supersectional.
Both East and Stagg had chances to score in each of the four overtime periods, but the back-line defense and goalie work from each school was stellar.
Senior captain Logan Murphy, who netted one of the five penalty kicks for the Griffins, hoisted the sectional trophy over his head after the match.
“I don’t know what we did in the regular season, but our team grew heart coming into the playoffs,” Murphy said. “We should have finished it earlier, especially in the first half, but this feels amazing.”
The Griffins controlled the ball for much of the first half, getting solid scoring opportunities from forward William Will and Murphy, but they couldn’t capitalize against the stingy defense of Stagg (18-3-2).
The pace picked up in the second half. Stagg forward Roberto Torres dazzled the crowd with an array of upfield dribbling moves, but Torres couldn’t score against big-bodied Griffins goalkeeper Rick Torres.
Lincoln-Way East’s four-game playoff win streak has coach Ryan Decker shaking his head.
“We’re 10-10 now and sectional champions. It’s a mentality,” Decker said. “We finally found something, a chemistry within our group, and now the boys believe.”
Stagg’s two-time All-State player Greg Healy made his first appearance since an injury in the regular-season finale, but he played just a few minutes at the end of the first half and part of the first overtime.
“Our coach laid out a plan. Survive to advance,” Murphy said. “We’re going to keep on doing that.”