HOMEWOOD | Homewood-Flossmoor and Bloom Township battled evenly Tuesday for a berth in the 3A Homewood-Flossmoor Regional final for almost the entire 80 minutes before someone finally scored a goal.
Senior Allen Sanchez found a loose ball in front of the Bloom net and chipped it in for a 1-0 Vikings victory and a spot in Saturday's final. The goal was unassisted and came with 1:07 left in the match.
"I saw the opening," Sanchez said. "It was an open goal. I had a guy shielded off and I just had to flick it in and put it in the back of the net. I had to do it for the team."
Bloom had plenty of scoring chances, but could not convert as junior keeper Phil Huang made seven saves for Homewood-Flossmoor.
Huang missed a goal in the first half when he came out of the net to take a free kick just outside the Bloom box. Huang's kick bounced hard off the goal post.
"Our boys played up to their potential today," Vikings coach Charlie Ward said. "We played aggressively. We have a lot of seniors on the team. The seniors came to play tonight, knowing this could be the last game they play. It reflected with their play on the field."
Oscar Santana made two saves in goal for the Blazing Trojans. Bloom coach Kelly Gutierrez said she was disappointed with the loss, but happy with her team on the season.
"Nobody likes to lose, but it was back and forth and they played hard and we played hard and everyone gave it all they had," Gutierrez said. "We had a productive and very positive season."
The Vikings will move on to play Eisenhower in the regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday at Homewood-Flossmoor. Eisenhower advanced earlier in the night with a 2-0 win over Brother Rice.
"Eisenhower is really talented," Ward said. "They have a lot of very skilled players. We're going to come out and try and out hustled them and out muscle them."