Varsity Soccer Defeats Highland Park 3-1 in the IHSA Sectional Semifinal Game


Alyssa Stokovich

The team celebrates after Senior Nate Edmunds (12) scored his second goal of the night making the Wildcats 2-0 early in the second half.

Alyssa Stokovich, Staff Writer

Despite the cold temperatures and unideal winds, the Libertyville Wildcats beat the Highland Park Giants 3-1 on Wednesday at Stevenson High School in the class 3A sectional semifinal

After their regional win on Saturday, Oct.24, ‘Wildcat Fútbol’ was especially looking for another win on Wednesday since it was this exact sectional semifinal game last year that the Cats went down to Fremd. This time, however, with their momentum building through the game, the boys did not leave disappointed.

The Cats’ first goal came at the halfway point in the first half from senior Nate Edmunds after a free kick from the right side into the box by Liam O’Connell, where Edmunds then finished it. The Cats left the first half with a 1-0 lead.

Edmunds had an impressive night with multiple shots on goal; another finish for him came less than 2 minutes into the second half with an assist from sophomore Ryan Wittenbrink.

Led by senior captains Kevin Reilly and Tucker Goebeler, the Cats continued their extensive possession with physical play, and 11 key saves from goalkeeper Brant Kym with help from his defense that included Daniel Marks, Grant Widmark, Michael Quigley and Christian Long. This simultaneous offensive and defensive strength ultimately lead to the Giants’ demise as Highland Park became more and more fatigued throughout the second half.

With no progress from Highland Park, the victory was sealed in the 84th minute by Reilly with a tap past the Highland Park goalie, making it 3-0. Despite the Giants’ responsive goal within the next minute, making it 3-1, the Cats went into the last four minutes with a comfortable two-goal lead.

Highland Park put up a strong fight, but it ultimately wasn’t enough for Libertyville’s team-oriented victory. With overall strong performances from the third-seeded team, the Cats hope to continue these victories all the way to the Super-Sectional on Tuesday, Nov. 3, ultimately leading them to the state tournament later this month.

They will play in the sectional final on Saturday at 11 a.m. against No. 5 Deerfield at Stevenson High School.