The Cardiac Kids did it again.
All postseason long, Sandburg has found some way to get it done, pulling out thriller after thriller with a different hero every night. Friday, it was a freshman who had scored just one goal all season who kept the Eagles’ dramatic run going.
Marty Manzke, whose first career goal came in Tuesday’s Class 3A Andrew Sectional semifinals, scored twice Friday to lift the Eagles to a 2-1 overtime win over Thornton Co-op in the sectional final in Tinley Park.
“I dreamed last night that this would happen,” Manzke said. “It’s amazing. The whole team atmosphere we have is huge. It definitely helps when you know anyone can step up.”
Manzke struck with 4:57 left in the second overtime period, sneaking behind the Thornton defense, corralling a long pass from Thomas Nie and finding the net.
“I just got the ball and I saw the defenders were beaten and I just heard someone yell to shoot it,” Manzke said. “I did and it just happened to go in.”
Sandburg (17-6), in search of its second straight state appearance, will meet Edwardsville (18-2-3) in Tuesday’s Normal Supersectional.
Thornton finished one of the best seasons in program history with a 19-4 record.
Manzke’s heroics were just the latest dramatics for the Eagles, who have won all four playoff matches by one goal, three in overtime.
The freshman got Sandburg on the board first with 14:52 left in regulation, pouncing on a rebound off a corner kick and beating Thornton goalie Eduardo Vargas.
The Wildcats answered less than four minutes later, also on a corner, as Farouk Amoo headed home Mauricio Ruiz’ cross.
That was the only shot on goal the powerful Thornton offense could produce, however, as Sandburg’s defense stepped up in a big way.
Michael Moore marked the Wildcats’ Emmanuel Barjebo and managed to slow the All-Stater.
“He’s been able to use his speed all year,” Moore said. “You have to keep him in front of you. If he turns on you, he’ll blow you away with his speed. As a senior, the playoffs feel a lot different. You don’t want it to end.”
Vargas made five saves for the Wildcats.
“Our program is getting better and better every year and we took a huge step this year,” Thornton coach David Gonzalez said. “We know that if we want to take that next step, we probably have to go through Sandburg. They play some really good soccer over there.”