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Huskie soccer advances to second straight State Championship

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The Naperville North Huskies soccer team played in the State Semifinal on Friday. Looking to continue their quest to defend last year’s State Championship victory, the Huskies came out firing on all cylinders, playing with intensity and determination on both sides of the ball. The Huskies continued their winning ways, clinching a berth in the State Championship game for the second consecutive season.

The Huskies (26-1-1, 7-1) defeated the Saint Charles North North Stars (12-3-4, 2-1-2) by a final score of 2-0.

The Huskies wasted no time getting on the board against a North Stars team that had shut out their previous two opponents. Twelve minutes into the game, FORW Patrick Koenig booted home a free kick to open the scoring. Less than four minutes later, MF Jack Barry cleaned up a rebound to double the lead before the midway point of the opening half. The Huskies continued their offensive domination throughout the remainder of the first half, highlighted by numerous chances from FORW Ty Konrad.

“I do my part every game to the best of my ability,” Konrad said. “Collectively, we were able to get it done.”

The prowess of the Huskies was on full display throughout the second half on both sides of the ball. Despite scoring six total goals over their previous two games, the North Stars were unable to generate offensive chances against the stingy defense of the Huskies. Late in the game, Jack Barry found himself in a one-on-one situation against the goalkeeper off a nifty pass from Ty Konrad but rattled a shot off the post. As the final minutes ticked away, the Huskies finished off the shutout to advance to the State Championship for the second consecutive season.

Jacob de Waard

“It is unbelievable to be back,” Konrad said. “We are trying to take in the moments as they come.”

After a pair of 1-0 victories to lead the Huskies to their second straight appearance in the State Semifinal, the Huskies secured their sixth consecutive shutout behind the solid goaltending of GK Tom Welch. Heading into the State Championship, the Huskies have blanked the opposition 21 times out of 28 matches which ranks third in IHSA Men’s Soccer history and first in school history.

“We cannot lose if we get a shutout,” Welch said. “As for the records, it is pretty cool to go down in history.”

Of the 26 members of the varsity team, eight players are sophomores. Three of those eight sophomores are everyday starters. MF Cesar Recendez, FORW Patrick Koenig, and FORW Ty Konrad have the opportunity to help the Huskies win back-to-back soccer State Championships for the first time in school history.

“I look up to my teammates with more experience than me,” Konrad said. “I just work hard and do the best that I can.”

After winning the 2015 State Championship, the Wildcats of Libertyville return to the title game against the defending champions in a battle of the past two winners. Huskies Head Coach Jim Konrad recognizes the tough test separating the Huskies from back-to-back State Championship victories.

“Libertyville has been ranked number one all season for a reason,” Konrad said. “They are a fantastic team, we have to be special to come out on top.”

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Huskie soccer advances to second straight State Championship