SouthtownStar’s boys soccer notebook

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For the second straight season, Bremen could not get past a speedy and talented Washington squad.

The Braves, who fell to the Patriots in a regional final last year, suffered a 2-1 overtime defeat in Tuesday’s Class 2A Lincoln-Way West Sectional semifinals.

“We let two squeakers go in,” Bremen coach Steve Granat said. “We don’t usually let teams score on set pieces, so I’m not sure what happened on those.”

The loss ended a second straight terrific season for the Braves, who finished 19-5-1 and won their second straight South Suburban Blue title after going 18-5-1 in 2012.

A talented senior class was a big part of that success. Bremen started seven seniors Tuesday and 11 in total on the roster.

Midfielder/defender Jesus Guzman was named an Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State player and forward Alejandro Mendez was an All-Sectional honorable mention.

“Starting with (Guzman), who was a four-year starter, this senior group was the best bunch of guys I’ve coached in a long time,” Granat said. “We just didn’t get as a far as we wanted to.”

2014 could be Knight time

Lincoln-Way Central dropped its playoff opener, falling 4-2 to Bloom a Class 3A Lincoln-Way Central Regional semifinal.

The defeat put a stop to a strong late-season surge for the Knights, who won their last four regular-season matches, beginning with a 3-2 victory over Class 2A sectional finalist Lincoln-Way West and ending with a big 1-0 win over Bolingbrook.

“The Lincoln-Way West match was a big pivot point for us,” Central coach Sean Fahey said. “It was better late than never. It gave our players a lot of confidence and that was the biggest thing.

“Our seniors came a long way. A lot of them played at every level and finally got their chance on varsity senior year. They improved a lot.”

Central, which finished 8-10-4, started six juniors, including All-Sectional honorees Jacob Lysik and Tyler Massa, and a sophomore and will be a team to watch next season.

Player of the Week

Ricky Estrada, of Thornton co-op, is the SouthtownStar Boys Soccer Player of the Week.

Estrada, a sophomore midfielder, scored a goal in Saturday’s Class 3A Stagg Regional championship win over T.F. United and had the game-winning goal in overtime — in addition to an assist — in Tuesday’s Andrew Sectional semifinal victory over Marist.

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