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  State Semifinal Preview: Boys



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The following previews cover the boys' state semifinals on Saturday, May 24:






9:00am - Fenwick vs Naperville North

The Friars have been waiting nine weeks to get a chance to avenge their Week 2 loss to Naperville North in the title game of their own tournament. The Huskies have also been waiting nine weeks to beat Fenwick when it really matters at the state tournament. That time has finally arrived for both squads, as the first boys' semifinal round game on Saturday morning pits #1 Naperville North against #3 Fenwick for a spot in the state championship game on Saturday night.


The Huskies wasted no time getting past Sandburg in the first quarterfinal round game on Thursday, as Nolan Roberts scored 5 goals and Drake McClure tallied 4 scores in a 17-4 win over the Eagles. Fenwick was equally impressive, as Ryan Masi scored 5 times and Danny Farmer registered 4 scores in a 15-7 victory over St Ignatius.


The only meeting between the two teams resulted in a one-goal victory for the Huskies. In that game, the Friars held a 5-3 halftime lead before North outscored the hosts 8-5 in the second half. Gianmarco Duin scored 4 goals and Drake McClure netted 3 scores in that win for the Huskies, while Danny Farmer led the Friars' offense with 3 goals.


The most-highly anticipated game of the season is finally upon us and it goes down bright and early on Saturday morning (9:00am) at Stevenson High School.





10:15am - Loyola vs Stevenson

The Ramblers and Patriots are both just one victory away from having another shot at claiming their first IHSA state championship. Loyola came close in 2012 before losing to Lyons in the title game; Stevenson finished in second place last season after losing to Fenwick in the state finals. Which team will get their best-ever opportunity to walk away with the state title with a crucial semifinal round win?


Loyola methodically took apart the Palatine defense on Thursday night to advance to the semifinals. Cam Shewchuck and Ragen Murphy both scored 4 goals in a 15-9 win over the Pirates. Meanwhile, the Patriots completely shut down the Brother Rice offense in the first half of their 12-7 victory over the Crusaders. Alex Divanyan and Mitchell Sokolsky both recorded 3 goals, while goalie Shaurya Gilani made 15 saves in the win.


The teams have a recent history, as the Ramblers edged the Patriots 9-8 in Week 8 in the same pool that serves as host of Saturday morning's semifinal game. Loyola used a balanced effort that featured 2 goals apiece from Shewchuck, Jack Schermerhorn, Matt Kearney, and Tom Baker to earn the regular season victory. The Patriots also had contributions from a wide variety of players, as Andrew Shashin scored 3 times and Divanyan, Sokolsky, Alex Kapacki, Liam Holzer, and Zach Stephens each scored once in the loss.


2014 could be the best chance for both teams to win a state championship. Only one can make it to the final game. And both teams are so evenly matched that it would be impossible to try and predict who will emerge from this contest as the winner. Loyola won the previous meeting. Stevenson gets to play in their home pool. Both teams have confidence after coming off impressive wins. Who will get to play for another state title on Saturday night?









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