With an early-season injury to Nabeel Bashir, the Uni High boy’s soccer team heads into the postseason despite a lack of lineup depth, refusing to skip a beat. Currently ranked 8th in the state, with a record of 14 wins, 5 ties, and 3 losses, the team is going into the postseason with a fire in their hearts.
Their first regionals game took place at the Eastside Center against Peoria with the kickoff beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9th. Varsity forward Lucas Wood says that if the team can keep its focus, state is not out of reach. “We’re eighth right now and [the] top four teams go to state. It’s not likely, but when has it ever been to do something great?” he explains.
The team overcame the Saint Joseph Ogdens in a 3-0 win, with Henry Diangelo facilitated the offense with a two-assist performance. Alex Higgs served as a defensive stopper, playing goalie and blocking four shot attempts by the opposing team. Riding their momentum, the Illineks went into their regional championship game facing off against the Hoopeston Cornjerkers. Tensions were high, leading to a multitude of missed shots in a scoreless first half. The following 40 minutes of play treated the audience to an absolute domination by Uni, led by the efforts of Aidan Garrett and Albert Lee. Once again Higgs put up a shutout outing, anchoring the defense. The Illineks returned home as regionals champions, eager to keep their season alive.
The team’s season ended on October 18th in a 4-1 loss against Saint Theresa, a third-ranked team in the state. Seniors stepped on the field for one last time in a Uni jersey and were greeted with an ovation as they stepped off. Despite the score, high spirits let Uni walk away from this game as winners.