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Boys soccer: Plainfield North blanks Joliet West

PLAINFIELD – In a clash between two boys soccer teams who had double-digit win totals heading into Tuesday’s Southwest Prairie Conference match between Plainfield North and Joliet West figured to be competitive.

But after North scored two goals in the first eight minutes and West missed a penalty kick a short time later, the battle between the two Tigers’ teams was competitive but not very close, as North picked up a 5-0 home victory over West.

Shea Bechtel scored two goals and assisted on another, while Avery Bell and Dilan Anweiler each had a goal and an assist. All three are captains, along with Kanon Woodill, for coach Dave Brown’s Plainfield North team, which improved to 12-5 overall and 7-1 in the SPC.

Cooper Allen also scored, while Sean Elster had an assist, and goalkeeper Marcos Papakostas stopped everything in a shutout for North, which got the area’s highest seed, at No. 6, in the rugged upcoming Lockport Sectional complex.

“We have a lot of rotating parts on the team with a lot of guys who can fill different roles,” Brown said. “But that also comes from having good team chemistry. They like playing, fighting and practicing with each other, and they enjoy the game. We played very free tonight with good energy, and they took their time and played one- and two-touch soccer and moved the ball.”

North went up 1-0 in the fourth minute when Bell made a long run to draw the goalie out and then got a touch on a loose ball to score. In the eighth minute, Bell’s throw-in went to Bechtel, who connected for his first goal and a 2-0 lead.

“We started off strong this year, but then we hit a stretch of just not playing that great, but in the last couple of games we’ve picked it up it a lot,” Bechtel said. “We have plenty of options going forward. We’re looking to keep playing good so we reach our peak by playoffs.”

North went up 3-0 in the 32nd minute when Bechtel sent a long pass to Elster, who put one in front, and Anweiler was there for the goal. In the 50th minute, North struck again when Bechtel sent a pass to Allen who connected for the fourth goal.

“We buy in as a family, and we all trust each other,” Papakostas said. “I trust the boys, and they didn’t let any in. These guys play hard in the back, and when we’re on, we’re on. With me, not being tested much was a good sign that the boys were doing their jobs.”

West, which drew the No. 1 seed in the Normal West Subsectional, fell to 12-6 and 5-4.

“This is the first time we got a top seed, so that’s a big deal,” West coach Michael O’Shea said. “I love the way that our team possesses the ball, they move quick and get it forward. I like the way that we can control the middle of the field. These guys are fun to watch.”