On Friday afternoon, the Solorio Sun Warriors defeat St. Patricks, 1-0 in the class 2A boys soccer state semifinals.
Not bad for a school that’s only been open since 2010.
Solorio, located in Chicago’s southwest side in Gage Park, is also the first CPS team to compete in a state title game other than basketball since Washington won the class 2A championship in soccer back in 2013.
Solorio head coach Adrian Calleros said: “Hopefully were laying our path. We’re a new school, we’ve only been open seven years and what our seniors have accomplished, two super sectionals, a trip downstate. I think we’re letting the state know who Solorio Academy is.”
The match commenced with an offensive onslaught from St. Pats. The Shamrocks had their way with Solorio early who were still trying to find their feet, but they were unable to find the back of the net.
In the 20th minute, it looked as though St. Pats would finally have their breakthrough as they earned a penalty kick, but Solorio keeper Bryan Hurtado came up with a big for the Sun Warriors.
St. Pat’s would continue to mount pressure, but one last save by Hurtado at the end of the half would make it a 0-0 game going into the break.
Coming out of halftime, Solorio looked like a completely different team. The nerves the teams once had seemed to all but disappear and they finally started mounting some attacking pressure.
“The first half they were dominating us, I guess you could say we were pressured,” said Solorio midfielder Julian Arroyo. “But as the game went on we got comfortable with each other and played our game.”
Starting in the 47th minute, Solorio had three great scoring chances in three consecutive minutes, but like St. Pats in the first half, they were unable to finish.
Finally, in the 55th minute, Solorio got the breakthrough they needed. Freshman Missael Rodriguez found himself with the ball on the right edge of the box. Sending a shot towards the goal, the ball somehow found it’s way past the keeper and into the net to give Solorio the 1-0 lead.
“When I first hit it, I fell so I didn’t see the ball right away,” said Rodriguez. “Then I looked up and I saw the ball rolling really slow, and all I was thinking was ‘cmon go in’ and when it finally went in and it was just an awesome feeling.”
Not content with just the one goal, Solorio’s confidence continued to build. Despite being up, Solorio continued to press forward and although not scoring, the continued attacking presence did not allow St. Pats to attack.
Despite having 25 minutes to find a goal, St. Pats were unable to come up with any clear cut opportunities. Time continued to tick down and Solorio closed out the game to clinch their place in the state finals.
Solorio will be facing Illinois soccer royalty in the finals as they take on Gibault Catholic, who made the state finals in their first year after moving up to class 2A.
“Looking at the matchup going in, it was the blue bloods vs. the new kids on the block,” said Calleros. “I had to explain to our kids where Waterloo Gibault was but mean they probably have more trophies than room in their trophy case. It’s one of those cases where we are the new kids on the block playing royalty tomorrow and we’ll see what we can do.”
Gibault and Solorio will face off on Saturday at 1:00 for the 2A state finals.