Lincoln-Way West and Thornton co-op emerged as the survivors in the wild SouthWest Suburban Red chase, sharing the conference title with 4-2 records.
The conference race was so crazy that going into the final slate of games Oct. 14, it was possible for all seven teams in the league to finish 3-3 and all share the title.
West beat Bradley 3-1 and Thornton sneaked by Lincoln-Way East 1-0 on the final day to prevent that from happening.
It’s the second consecutive league title for Thornton, but the first in program history for the Warriors.
“We set a goal at the beginning of the season and it’s a great feeling to accomplish it,” West coach Jeff Theiss said. “We lost our first conference game against (Lincoln-Way North) and it set us back, but we knew with so much parity in the league, we’d probably get some help. We just kept taking care of business.”
Four of West’s conference games went to overtime, including its win over Thornton.
In the finale at Bradley, the Warriors trailed 1-0 at halftime before rallying behind two goals by Conrad Bolster and two Zak Pavlovich assists.
Serjio Lopez recorded the lone goal for Thornton against Lincoln-Way East. Antonio Castro recorded the shutout.
“We’ve never seen anything close to the balance this league had before,” Theiss said. “I think this conference will really prepare everyone for the postseason.”
Bloom attains perfection
Bloom finished its Southland Conference slate with a 10-0 record to take the league title, outscoring its opponents by a combined 83-8.
Freshman Anthony Aldape (20 goals, 17 assists entering Tuesday) and sophomore Alex Segoviano (16 goals) have led the way for the Blazing Trojans.
Illinois Lutheran makes history
Along with Lincoln-Way West, Illinois Lutheran experienced a first in program history as well as the Chargers last week won their first regional title.
Illinois Lutheran beat Peotone 4-0 in a Class 1A Manteno Regional semifinal, then knocked off rival Beecher 2-1 in overtime in the final. Nate Yazdani scored off a Justin Schmidtke cross for the game-winner.
“Every time we play Beecher it’s a close game and it goes back and forth with who wins,” Illinois Lutheran coach Andy Biesterfeld said. “We got the game we expected to get from them. It was a nice win.
“This was the fifth time my teams have played in a regional final. In the past, the kids have been a lot more nervous. This group just seemed ready for it. They’re excited about it, but they want to keep going.”
Player of the Week
Hussain Sadeq, of Richards, is the SouthtownStar Boys Soccer Player of the Week.
Sadeq, a senior forward, scored two goals as Richards topped crosstown rival Oak Lawn 4-2 in a Class 3A Sandburg Regional quarterfinal.