Boys Soccer: Warren advances past Schaumburg, headed to stateBARRINGTON Tuesday Nov 1 2011
Warren's Daniel Szczepanek (9)| Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 1, 2011 9:46PM
Daniel Szczepanek (11th minute) and Ryan Friend (70th) minute scored the goals, but Warren keeper Brady Walsh was the story of the Blue Devils’ 2-0 win over Schaumburg on Tuesday in the Round of 8 of the Class 3A boys soccer tournament.
Walsh, who has not conceded a goal in five playoff games and has a seven-game shutout streak going back to the regular season, made a SportsCenter-worthy stop in the 68th minute when Warren (22-3-3) led just 1-0.
A free kick was played to the far post, Schaumburg’s Drew Simon put a head on it, and it looked like it surely was going in. Walsh dove back across his line and not only stopped it short of the line, but didn’t surrender a rebound as the huge crowd at Barrington gasped in wonder.
“I don’t know if it was the toughest shot I’ve faced all year, but the factors surrounding it (1-0 in the super-sectional) made it the hardest save,” he said. “Without that save, it goes to 1-1. Momentum can shift just like that and then you don’t know what happens.”
What did happen is Warren responded to the save with the game-clinching goal two minutes later.
“I’m just so happy for these guys. Brady and I have been together for four years,” said Warren coach Jason Ahonen. “He (to play goalie) was the first decision I made as far as where we wanted to go with the program.
“We’ve been through some growing pains. It wasn’t easy the first couple of years, but we’ve improved every year.
“We brought up 11 sophomores (to the varsity) two years ago and some are still with us. To see the joy on their faces is amazing.”
This will be Warren’s first trip to state since a second-place finish (1-0 loss to New Trier) in 2006.
As for bringing home the big trophy on Saturday night, Ahonen said this about the Devils’ trip to the Final Four:
“They say defense wins championships. If we keep on not giving up any goals, then we put ourselves in a great spot,” he said. “Two more games ... We’ll see what happens Friday night.”