ND, Dunlap advance, but it has a cost – Key players from each team
MORTON – Notre Dame and Dunlap guaranteed a representative from the Journal Star area will advance to the Class A boys soccer state quarterfinals. But advancement might have come at a cost for both teams.
Second-seeded Dunlap beat third-seeded Normal U-High 3-1, and top- seeded Notre Dame defeated the No. 4 hosts 3-0 in the Morton Sectional semifinals Saturday at McClallen Park to advance to the sectional-title match at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The prices: Notre Dame (22-2) will not have senior forward Nick Mentgen because he received a red card with 1:56 left against Morton for violent retaliation after he was fouled. Dunlap senior midfielder Clint Mattingly injured his sternum against U-High when taken down from behind in the second half. Mattingly will have X-rays today.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to go into the championship game without one of our stronger players,” Notre Dame coach Peter Nash said. “But we’ll prepare and . . . You play with 11 guys. Not one guy can win a game.”
Notre Dame struck in the first minute against Morton (16-6-2) when senior forward Nick Cicciarelli took advantage of a defensive miscue by Morton in the penalty area and buried the ball.
ND didn’t score again until after a short flurry in the second half by Morton.
In the 74th minute, Mentgen took a short pass from Cicciarelli to the right of Morton’s wall off a restart. Mentgen turned and hit the left side of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
“We usually have a lot of energy when we come out,” said Cicciarelli, who scored again in the 78th minute. “We got a goal and we thought it would be easy. We let our guard down. It was a battle.”
In the second match, Dunlap (21-3) took the wind out of U-High’s sails with 35 seconds left in the first half. Mattingly beat two defenders into the penalty area and scored off the far post.
“That definitely lifted us,” Dunlap senior defender John Ferguson said. “We still had to go out in the second half, but it was great to go into half up 1-0.”
Mattingly’s injury occurred four minutes into the second half in the penalty area. After Mattingly was helped off the field, Brad Bahr scored his 22nd goal of the season with a penalty kick to the upper- right corner.
The defense anchored by Ferguson held the Pioneers (13-8-2) to seven shots on goal but limited their quality chances to one.
“Every once in a while he pulls out of those games where he plays like a college kid,” Dunlap coach Wayne Miller said of Ferguson.
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