ADDISON – Neil McGovern’s dream came true and York defeated St. Charles East after a thrilling 9-8 shootout in Friday’s scoreless Class 3A Addison Trail Sectional final.
McGovern, who opened the sudden death of the shootout by converting his attempt, has even bigger dreams now, with a supersectional game against either Huntley or Elgin up next on Tuesday.
“It’s not over, but this is a huge part,” McGovern said. “This is what we dreamed of; even when I was a freshman I was dreaming of playing in the playoffs, dreaming of scoring in a shootout. Shooting to score in a shootout of this was a huge relief and a dream come true for me.”
Sam Musial, Ryder Kohl, Kacper Janowski, Jose Herrera and Brendan Haran converted their PKs in the opening round of the shootout for the Dukes. Aidan McGovern, Kevin O’Connor and Henri Ymeraj followed McGovern in successfully making their tries while the Saints made eight straight.
“We practice pens at the end of every practice so I’m really glad we went 9-for-9 on pens,” Ymeraj said. “I was like I’m going to choose one side and I’m going to keep to that side and I never changed my mind. When I went up here I looked forward and shot the ball. That’s all it is.”
Both teams had their share of opportunities to put one in the net and avoid the shootout. Both teams also came up with plenty of big plays in the back and from their goalkeepers to keep it that way.
“I thought we were capable of more than we did today, but if you told us that we would take those guys and not let them score for 100 minutes, two weeks ago I wouldn’t believe it,” Saints coach Vince DiNuzzo said. “I was proud of the kids – the way they fought, the way they melded together and kind of formed a nice little unit. It was a performance to be proud of.”
St. Charles East (18-5) almost scored just five minutes into the game when junior Mason Brockmeyer ran down a long ball but saw his shot just squeezed to the left of the far post. Early in the second overtime, senior Sebastian Carranza was able to create a scoring chance and the Saints had a final threat of a corner kick in the last minute.
“It’s heartbreaking,” DiNuzzo said. “I felt like both teams had their chances. It felt like a tale of two halves, whoever had the wind was a little more dominant in possession with quality chances, and when you were against the wind you were kind of back against the wall defending. I thought we were pretty dangerous on set pieces and we were unlucky not to score one, but nine rounds of pens is a tough way to go out for these seniors.”
York (20-2-0) also ended St. Charles East’s season in 2019. It’s the Dukes first sectional title since 2000.
“Four years we’ve worked our butts off for this,” Ymeraj said. “I’m just ecstatic.”