Obviously, Streamwood and Lake Park share the desire to capture Tuesday’s Class 3A Barrington Supersectional and reach the Final Four, but there’s much more in common.
Offensively, several players support one dominant scorer. Defensively, both rely on experienced back lines working with a stellar goalie. Both survived sectional title scares. Former teammates have helped both programs as transfers. And both coaches worked together on the club circuit.
However, No. 7-ranked Lake Park (20-1-4) aims for an encore to last year’s fourth-place finish, this after edging Rolling Meadows 3-2 in the sectional final thanks to a 5-4 shootout advantage gained from a sixth penalty kick. The Lancers hope to extend a 20-game unbeaten string (17-0-3), which followed the lone loss – a 1-0 setback to Wheaton North on Sept. 4.
Being labeled the underdog is nothing knew for Streamwood (16-5-2), which stunned Rockford Boylan 2-1 in overtime to claim its first-ever sectional plaque.
“We haven’t been this far, so there are no expectations or pressures on us,” Streamwood coach Matt Polovin said. “There’s been an unbelievable buzz at school. Teachers, administrators, staff and students are all excited. Our guys’ confidence level is so high, it doesn’t matter who they play, they just want to play. This time of the year, anyone you play is a quality foe.”
After transferring from Burlington Central, Alan Camarena took over the scoring role for the Sabres and boasts team-highs for goals (22), assists (11) and game-winning goals (seven). However, Donnie Sosa’s goals have decided the last two wins for Streamwood.
“Alan is such an offensive presence every time that if people pay too much attention to him, it opens opportunities for others,” Polovin said.
The Lancers’ top threat is Oliver Horgan with 19 goals and four assists, while coach Anthony Passi has more depth to count on, including sons Anthony Jr and Michael. The duo were teammates with Camarena at Burlington Central a year ago when the then No. 19-Rockets lost a supersectional to Wheaton Academy, which went on to place fourth in 2A.
The Passis are one of three sets of identical twins among the four brother combinations playing for Lake Park.
Both teams claimed their first three postseason victories via shutout. Lancer goalkeeper Michael Jasiak — all-sectional along with Horgan — has helped produce 13 shutouts. Streamwood goalkeeper Sergio Blanco, an all-sectional pick, owns 10 shutouts.
The Sabres will again have five freshmen on the roster, with the elevation of Gregorio Esteves to replace fellow freshman Aldo Lazaro, who underwent leg surgery Saturday night following his injury in the Boylan game.