FRANKFORT — One win away.
From greatness. From history. From a state championship.
The Urbana boys’ soccer team inched closer to winning the program’s first state title after it beat Arlington Heights St. Viator 2-1 on Friday afternoon in a Class 2A state semifinal at Lincoln-Way North High School.
Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner’s take on Urbana’s first trip to the boys’ soccer Final Four:
Even before they get their still-to-be-determined state trophy Saturday, Urbana’s boys’ soccer team knows one fact: It is the state’s No. 1 public school team in Class 2A. The other three state semifinalists are private or parochial schools.
URBANA — When Jonathan Lukusa arrived in America from the Congo, he spoke a universal language.
He was 7 years old at the time of the relocation but already was a veteran at the sport Americans call soccer.
“I started playing when I was 2,” Lukusa said.
SPRINGFIELD — Urbana clinched its first trip to a boys’ soccer Final Four on Tuesday night.
But the Tigers had an inkling big things were in store for their program six days earlier in a Class 2A sectional semifinal.
Jonathan Lukusa, Urbana, senior, Soccer
Recently: Native of Congo scored the first goal in the sectional semifinal and the only goal in the championship match as the Tigers won their first sectional title since 2005.
In his own words: “It’s a really big thing, winning (sectional) for the first time in my four years.”
I’m driving ... my mom’s car.
NORMAL — Even before Urbana Uni High stepped onto the The Corn Crib pitch on Saturday evening, the Illineks had already made history by becoming the first school from Champaign County to play in a boys’ soccer state championship match.
The significance of that achievement wasn’t lost on Illineks head coach Phil Anders and his squad.
NORMAL — Patrick Wong found himself alone with the soccer ball.
The Urbana Uni High senior forward had a breakaway chance midway through the second half of Saturday night’s Class 1A boys’ soccer state championship match against Alton Marquette.
NORMAL — When it comes to IHSA state titles at Urbana University High, chess and journalism don’t merely have bragging rights.
They are the only ones even in the conversation.
That could change today.
The Illineks boys’ soccer team, which before this year never had advanced to state, now is one win from bringing home a state championship trophy.
MAHOMET — Urbana is a win from reaching its first Final Four in boys’ soccer.
But the Tigers have higher expectations than simply making school history.
“I believe we can win state,” junior sweeper Darian Gingold said. “As long as we keep playing like we have been, we have that opportunity.”
URBANA — These are the happiest of times — collectively — for the University High boys’ soccer program.
The Illineks are on the verge of making their state tournament debut in the sport Friday and are guaranteed of returning home with a trophy Saturday.