Waterloo soccer heading to state

The Waterloo soccer team poses with its super-sectional plaque. (submitted photo)

The Waterloo High School soccer team is in the final four. The Bulldogs defeated Springfield, 3-0, on Tuesday night in the Jacksonville Super-Sectional to clinch a spot in the IHSA Class 2A State Tournament.

It has been five years since the team last made it to the state championship round — and the 2015 squad just seemed destined to get there.

“It’s what we’ve been working for every year. That’s kind of been our main goal,” Waterloo coach Chad Holden said. “We were there five years ago, but none of these guys got to be a part of that. So, it’s their first time experiencing it. They’ve worked hard all summer; these seniors have been working hard since their freshman year. A lot have played in the varsity ranks right away and it’s paid off.”

The Bulldogs keep doing what they’ve done all year, and it wasn’t any different during Tuesday’s tilt with Springfield.

Even before Philip Most put Waterloo up 1-0 with about 16 minutes left in the first half, it seemed the ‘Dogs controlled the game.

“We were actually playing pretty well prior to (the first goal),” Holden said. “We were maintaining possession quite a bit and we actually had some good chances before that first goal.”

Kane Osterhage gave Waterloo some breathing room with a goal before the end of the first half. Ben Huels scored on a header in the second half to seal the deal. Solid defense and goalkeeping preserved the shutout.

Now the team represents more than just Waterloo.

“We want to represent Waterloo well, but we’ve also gotten a lot of feedback from local coaches that are wishing us the best of luck,” Holden said. “We are the Southern Illinois representative. Coaches and teams in this area are supporting us. I know that at the games we’re not enemies, but we’re going against each other. In a way, you support your local school.”

The Bulldogs will attempt to become the third straight high school soccer team from Monroe County to win state — Gibault and Columbia won Class 1A titles in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Waterloo (23-3-1) is guaranteed two more games this season. They play in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday against Mundelein (Carmel) at Hoffman Estates near Chicago. With a win, the Bulldogs play in the championship game on Saturday. If they lose, the third place game is also on Saturday.

Waterloo is the smallest school left between Mundelein, Peoria (Notre Dame) and Chicago (Washington).

“That’s kind of the most fun part about it — not knowing the opponent,” Holden said. “We don’t even have any common opponents that we’ve seen either.”

To get live updates from the state games, follow the Republic-Times on Twitter (@republictimes) and Facebook.

 

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