HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — For more than 70 minutes, Edwardsville senior goalkeeper Tyler Frolick and the Tigers defense held West Chicago's high-powered offense at bay.
Clinging to a one-goal lead, Edwardsville couldn't slam the door shut.
West Chicago scored twice within 10 minutes to shock the Tigers and hand them a 2-1 loss in overtime of a Class 3A state semifinal last Friday evening at Hoffman Estates High School.
“It's pretty tough to face an offense like that, but you just have to stay locked in,” Frolick said. “You work to keep the shutout and just keep believing that you can. My defense worked for me and they took away a lot of shots I didn't have to save tonight. We got that first one in and had to keep pressing but didn't get another.”
Edwardsville (21-5-3) took the lead two minutes in when senior midfielder Logan Loftus hit senior forward Cooper Nolan, who sent a screamer into the back of the net.
“Cooper had a wonderful counter and put it in to put us up,” Frolick said. “It kept our team's hopes high and I believe we should have capitalized, but I believe we played well.”
Frolick made a series of dazzling saves to keep the Tigers ahead, including a diving save on a shot by West Chicago senior midfielder Jessie Hernandez in the first half and another from senior midfielder Moises Morfin in the second.
“It was good because Tyler had to deal with flighted balls,” Edwardsville coach Mark Heiderscheid said of Frolick. “He was courageous in dealing with them and, if you don't have that, it exposes your defense quite a bit. At the same time, you have to respect (West Chicago's) persistence and the fact that they adapted, too. Their tactic switched a bit. I'm proud of the way we were able to hold things together.”
West Chicago (23-2-3) broke through with just under 10 minutes left.
That's when Morfin took over.
He scored the equalizer in regulation, then fed sophomore midfielder Brian Nieves for the game-winner 45 seconds into the extra session.
“The goal from Day 1 has been to make it to state and we're doing this for our community,” Morfin said. “Our fans, everyone around us, this means so much to them. To be able to get to it (the title game) means a lot to us because of all of the support we've had.”
Frolick made 12 saves in the loss, two shy of a state playoff record. David Kuehn earned the win for the Wildcats.
Edwardsville hoped to rebound against St. Patrick in the third-place game after Journal press time last Saturday. For up-to-date results, visit stlhighschoolsports.com.
The Tigers last took third in 2010 and won state titles in 2000 and 2013.
“It's still the same as if we were playing in the championship game,” Frolick said. “We're still going to go out there and play our hearts out.”