Notre Dame derails boys soccer team

Bryan Veginski
Morton junior forward/midfielder Mack Hasinger handles the ball during boys soccer postseason play. The Potters lost to Notre Dame Friday, 2-1 in overtime, in the championship match of the Irish’s Class 2A sectional.

The Morton boys soccer team came to life at the right time Oct. 26.

The Potters scored four unanswered goals to overcome Ottawa in the semifinals of the Class 2A Notre Dame Sectional.

Morton advanced in the Illinois High School Association postseason with a 4-1 victory over the Pirates, who played in their first sectional since 1988.

The game, played under extremely windy conditions in Peoria, was scoreless at halftime.

Ottawa then went on top on a direct kick in the 43rd minute.

“At that point then, our guys had enough resolve and resilience to get things together,” MHS head coach Brian Deters said.

Carson Gray evened the match for Morton in the 48th minute on an assist from Matt Rossi.

Adam Bazzetta provided a pair of goals in a six-minute span to lift the Potters to a 3-1 edge.

Tyler Sniff delivered a nice service from the left side for the go-ahead tally, while Mark Anderson got the ball to Bazzetta from the other side.

Morton set the final a short time later when Taylor Hartseil scored on a Bazzetta helper.

The Potters’ meeting with Ottawa was the first in school history.

Jordan Repholz was the keeper for the 17th Morton victory of the season.

Notre Dame 2, MHS 1 (OT)

The Potters’ long-standing roadblock again would not let them through to the next level.

Morton (17-6-1) exited in the championship match Oct. 29 after going toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s top-ranked programs.

Notre Dame is No. 5 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.

“I was really pleased and proud of the guys’ preparation throughout the week,” Deters said.

The Potters made adjustments after losing to the Irish, 6-0, Oct. 14.

They focused on minimizing the touches of ND All-American Vince Cicciarelli and all-stater Cody Gilfillan. Cicciarelli is bound for the University of Notre Dame, while Gilfillan is headed for Bradley.

That strategy worked through regulation. The only ND goal in the first 80 minutes on its home field came early.

Morton answered late in the first half.

Mack Hasinger, who Deters said played with great speed and tenacity up top all night, sent a ball through to Gerson Rodriguez, who calmly placed it over the Irish keeper.

“That goal lifted us with motivation to defend with a lot of resolve in the second half,” said Deters.

In sudden death overtime to determine who advanced to yesterday’s New Lenox Lincoln-Way West Super-sectional, Cicciarelli finally got free and delivered a goal in the match’s 87th minute.

In each of the Potters’ last four sectional appearances dating to 2006, Notre Dame has eliminated them with a one-goal win.

Morton had a memorable season with a third consecutive Mid-Illini Conference championship and fourth regional title in the last five years.

“I was very proud of our guys’ effort and our season, I thought, was a successful one,” Deters said.

Matt Rossi was an Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association all-state selection.

Morton all-sectional picks included Bazzetta and Sniff.

“Our senior leadership was so effective, starting with captains Matt Rossi and Adam Bazzetta, but all the other guys,” said

Deters.

The Potters came within one victory of matching the most for a season in Deters’ 15-year tenure.

Rossi, Bazzetta, Sniff, Nathaniel Hatton and Dylan Henricks all were picked for the 4-KICKS/Sport Verein Senior All-Star game.

That contest, featuring the Mid-Illini against the Mid-State 6 Conference, plus Peoria Christian, Roanoke-Benson/Eureka and Illinois Valley Central, is at 7 p.m. Monday at Peoria Stadium.