Washington one win away from state tournament

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According to Washington’s Luis Ortega, the Patriots’ success all comes down to heart – and the Patriots don’t plan on seeing their playoff run end short of the ultimate goal.

“We work as a team and we have a hunger to win,” Ortega said. “We’re not going to stop until we get to state.”

For the second straight season, Washington is one game away from getting there.

Ortega and Arturo Aupont each recorded two goals and an assist while Jose Leyva was brilliant in goal Saturday as the Patriots rolled to a 4-0 win over host Lincoln-Way West in a Class 2A sectional final.

Washington (11-1-9) will meet Nazareth in Tuesday’s Lemont Supersectional.

The Warriors started strong, but Leyva was up to the challenge, denying Kip Pavlovich on a golden chance off a rebound.

Washington, meanwhile, took advantage of its chances. Aupont got the ball off a failed West clearing attempt and buried a shot from the center of the box to give his team the lead in the fifth minute.

Ortega pounced on a rebound after Aupont’s shot was saved and scored for a 2-0 lead less than 17 minutes in.

“Our offense is really explosive right now,” Ortega said. “Me and Arturo have great chemistry.”

Leyva made a leaping save to rob Ian McGrath late in the half and keep the shutout intact.

“We had some great chances and it could have been a different game going into halftime,” West coach Jeff Theiss said. “Their goalie made some great saves. They’re a very technical team and they’re really tough in the middle of the field.”

Aupont and Ortega added goals in the final 15 minutes of the match and Leyva, who finished with five saves, kept the Warriors from mounting a comeback.

“I was really happy to make those big saves,” Leyva said.

It’s the second straight season Washington has knocked out West (15-8-3) in sectional play, as the Patriots won a sectional semifinal contest between the two last year.

“This group this season was so excited to play the game,” Theiss said. “They had so much passion for the game. It was fun to be around.”

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