SOCCER: BBCHS takes second, Manteno fourth at Boiler Invite
BRADLEY — Some of the top soccer programs in Illinois traveled to Bradley-Bourbonnais during the weekend to compete in the Boiler Invite, and a pair of area teams found themselves in medal games.
After narrowly knocking off Champaign Central in the semifinals, the host Boilers threw everything they had at defending Class 2A State Champion Solorio Academy in Chicago but fell to the Sun Warriors 4-1 on Saturday.
Boilers coach Rohan Robinson said his team just couldn’t keep up with Sun Warriors Striker Alejandro Sanchez Jr., who finished the game with a hat trick.
“We just couldn’t get it started; we weren’t picking up their runs,” Robinson said. “Before the game ... I told them to just stay with the runs, that [Sanchez Jr. and forward Roberto Villa] were their prime targets.
“All of the sudden, it just became fly by, fly by, fly by.”
After back-to-back trips to the Class 3A State Finals, the Boilers lost most of last year’s starting lineup, including forwards Nick and Anthony Markanich and midfielder Efrain Davila.
Robinson said because of that, many people didn’t expect the Boilers to reach the championship game in such a talented tournament, which the Boilers kicked off on Friday with a 2-0 victory against Peotone.
Robinson also said after the beginning of the Peotone game, the quality of play in his team took a bit of a dip.
“A lot of people counted us out and didn’t think we could do this,” Robinson said. “We played really good for the first 20 minutes against Peotone and then just dropped.”
Jackson Jasmin, one of three returning Boilers, scored the team’s lone goal in the finals. Robinson said Jasmin, along with fellow returners Pete Sorich and Tyler Schultz, will be relied upon to help steady a young Boilers’ squad.
“The kids can look to them for guidance and learn the game as they go through it,” Robinson said. “They can harness and learn a lot in practice and in games.”
The Boilers are in action at 4:30 p.m. Wedensday, when they travel to take on All-City rival Bishop McNamara.
Panthers finish 4th
After knocking off Class 3A powerhouse Nequa Valley 2-1 on Friday night, Manteno fell in Saturday’s third-place game to Champaign Central 4-1. Despite the outcome, coach Justin Emerson was encouraged by his team’s play during the weekend.
“The only thing I told them was whatever mindset, whatever mentality we came out with [Friday], to come out the same way,” Emerson said. “It was the same mindset [Saturday]; we just ran out of juice.”
The Panthers’ lone goal came on a beautiful header from A.J. Gilliam on a just-as-beautiful free kick from Alec Miller. Manteno also scored on a set piece header Friday, and Emerson said those plays will be pivotal for the Panthers moving forward.
“We have a great servicer of the ball, especially on the close ones with Alec Miller,” Emerson said. “And we’ve got some brave kids who aren’t afraid to go up and win a header. That can be such a huge aspect moving forward.”
The Panthers return home at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for Interstate Eight Conference action against Reed-Custer.