Boys soccer: Demons come up short of sectional titleEvanston Tuesday, 10/25/11
Glenbrook South's Josh Just (15) and Maine East's Rami Dajani (9) during the second half of Tuesday's sectional semifinal match played at Evanston High School. (Maine East won, 5-4.) | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Not even a minute into Saturday’s match, Maine East’s Michal Walaszek found some freedom and sent a screaming shot toward the goal.
But New Trier freshman goalie Niko Katsinis made the save, and the Trevians went on to do the much of the scoring in their 4-1 win to capture the Evanston Sectional championship.
The Blue Demons, who set multiple offensive records this season, couldn’t connect on their opportunities and put themselves in an unfamiliar position of having to play from behind.
“We did have our chances,” said Maine East coach Vic DiPrizio, whose club ended up 16-8-1, one victory shy of tying the program record. “I mean, Mike blasted that one, but the keeper made a great save. I think that ball goes left or right, it’s a whole different ball game. I think the kids would have relaxed and done a lot for their confidence.”
Instead, the Trevians scored three times in the first half and again midway through the second half to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Rami Dajani finally broke the shutout with his goal with 22 minutes to play.
New Trier won its fifth sectional title since 2006. Meanwhile, the wait continues for Maine East, which last won a sectional championship during the 1975-76 school year.
“Absolutely, it was a tough way to end,” DiPrizio said. “But I am so proud of the kids and how they played. They played with a lot of heart all season long.”
The Blue Demons won three tournaments and their first regional title since 2008. The three forwards — Alexis Chavero, Dajani and Walaszek — combined to score 76 goals.
Dajani finished with a program-record 31 goals and also had 22 assists. Walaszek, who was moved to forward from the midfield before this season, added 27 goals and 23 assists.
“That was our strength,” DiPrizio said. “I thought about using a different approach for this game, but I had to go with our strengths. I am not second-guessing myself. We were confident going in.”