Nov. 3, 2017, and 2018 were spent strikingly similar for the Libertyville and Naperville North High School communities. For the second year in a row, the Wildcats and Huskies faced off for the 3A State Championship boys soccer game, with Libertyville again finishing as the runner-up.
Their only loss of the season happening at the state title game, the Libertyville boys soccer team reacts to their loss against Naperville North on Saturday, Nov. 3.
For the first time in boys soccer state history, there were two unbeaten, untied teams playing in a state title game.
Both teams battled back and forth throughout the first half.
“We knew what they were going to do, and they did it,” said senior goalie Zach El Ghatit. “Set pieces, dead balls — that’s how we knew they were going to score.”
“We knew what they were going to do, and they did it,” said senior goalie Zach El Ghatit. “Set pieces, dead balls -- that’s how we knew they were going to score.”
And that’s exactly how Naperville North got their scoring opportunity. From a corner kick, Naperville North’s Colin Iverson headed the ball into the net, setting the score at 1-0 in minute 36 of the game. He was the one and only athlete who put a point on the board in the state championship game, the third straight title for the Huskies.
Libertyville Head Coach Kevin Thunholm stated that Iverson’s header managed to “beat us at our own game, because that’s how we’ve been winning games all year, with the head ball.”
Coach Thunholm added that in the first half, he felt Libertyville had the edge for the first 10 minutes, which was responded to with 10 minutes of tough play by the Huskies, followed again by Wildcat dominance. This continued until the last four minutes of the first half.
“I think we put our heads down for a little bit, came back out that second half and put it back at them. Put them down under for a while and then just kind of ran out of time,” said Coach Thunholm.