Libertyville boys’ soccer advances to IHSA Class 3A state championship


Alyssa Stokovich

Libertyville is looking for their first state title after getting second in 2010 and 1986. They will play in the championship match against Quincy after defeating Morton in the state semi-finals.

On Friday night, the boys’ varsity soccer team defeated the Morton Mustangs 2-1 in a sold out stadium and advanced to the Class 3A IHSA state finals. The game was hard-fought on both sides, though the Wildcats pulled ahead in the second half with goals by sophomore Ryan Wittenbrink and senior Tucker Goebler.

The first half of the game was fiercely contested by both the Wildcats and the Mustangs. The players were extremely competitive with both sides giving their best efforts to get on the board, yet neither one was able to convert in the first 40 minutes.

Entering the second half, the score was 0-0. However, less than a minute in, Liam O’Connell served up a free kick to the right side post where Wittenbrink muscled his way through the Morton defense and headed in the first goal of the match, giving Libertyville a 1-0 lead.

As the game continued, Libertyville’s dynamic midfielders continued to press the talented Morton defense. As the physicality of play increased, a penalty was drawn by the Cats, and yet another free kick was taken by O’Connell. He directed the kick to the right post area, where Goebler headed the ball across the goal into the left upper 90 of the net. As Libertyville gained a 2-0 lead, fans went crazy, and the team celebrated the goal.

In the final 30 minutes, Libertyville’s suffocating defensive pressure limited the high scoring Morton offense to minimal shots on goal. The whole team pulled back to support the solid back line of Jacob Rasmussen, Grant Widmark, Dan Marks, and Michael Quigley, ensuring the dream of playing in the state championship match the following night.

The Cats held strong, but with three minutes remaining in the game Morton was granted a penalty kick, took advantage of it, and cut Libertyville’s lead in half. In the remaining time, Morton hustled in attempts to tie up the 2-1 game; however, they were unable to do so.

Libertyville secured the win and will advance to the championship match on Saturday. They are slated to face Quincy, who defeated Bartlett with a score of 3-2 in an overtime match. The Cats will be looking for their first state title after finishing second in both 2010 and 1986. Libertyville and Quincy will kick off on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. for the state championship at Hoffman Estates High School, and tickets can be purchased at the gate for $6.