By: Luke Drase
So much for feeling any pressure.
Playing in their first ever state title match, Solorio defeated frequent state title contender Gibault 6-0 to claim the class 2A state title in boys soccer, the first ever state title for the school.
“This title means a lot to me,” said senior goalkeeper Bryan Rangel Hurtado. “This is my second year playing with them and coach gave me an opportunity to be a starter. I just want to dedicate this to the school and to everyone.”
Solorio is the latest CPS team to claim a state title in 2A soccer, joining Mather (2011) and Washington (2013) to add to Chicago’s trophy cabinet.
“The support has been incredible,” said Solorio head coach Adrian Calleros. “A lot of CPS schools are backing away from the extra curricular activities but we have an administration that embraces it. I mean you saw them out here with fan busses and I can’t thank them enough.”
Unlike their previous match against St. Pats, it was Solorio who were the more aggressive team early. The Sun Warriors spent much of the first 10 minutes of the match in the Gibault end of the field, generating plenty of chances, but no goals.
“High pressure was key,” said Solorio forwards Alejandro Sanchez. “From the beginning of the game we had to have high intensity from the start.”
The pressure finally broke down the Gibault defense in the 13th minute with a well worked goal by Solorio.
Jonathan Vasquez Cortez sent a through ball that found Jose Solis in the box, who instead of taking a shot, found a streaking Sanchez on the right side of the box for an easy tap in and the 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for Solorio to add to their lead, in the 21st minute Misael Rodriguez was brought down into the box and was awarded a penalty. Sanchez coolly slotted home the penalty kick into the bottom right corner doubling Solorio’s lead.
In the 28th minute, Solis struck again for Solorio, with a 25 yard strike that beat the keeper to the far side, hitting the left hand netting to increase Sun Warriors’ lead to 3-0.
Solis said: “When I got the ball and turned I saw there was space for me to shoot, and when I have a chance I take the shot, and it just went it.”
“He needed that goal because he was mad at me that he didn’t take the PK,” joked Calleros. “He was a little upset at me so I figured that lit a little bit of a fire under him, so it was good to see him get fired up and pump one in the net.”
Down 3-0, Gibault started to turn up the attack in hopes of getting back in the match. Although they did have their fair share of chances down the stretch in the first half, they were unable to finish and went into halftime chasing three goals.
Coming out of halftime, Gibault looked like a completely different team. During the first 10 minutes of the second frame, the Hawks were finding gaps in Solario’s defense, but were just unable to find the back of the net.
Hurtado said: “Defensively we’re really strong. We kept three clean sheets [in the last three matches] so we’re pretty strong in the back.”
From the 60th minute onward, the game started to get out of hand. It was evident that Gibault was frustrated with the match up until that point and it started to get the better of them.
Another penalty was awarded to Solorio in the 62nd minute which also saw a Gibault player sent off with his second yellow of the day. Solis’ penalty try was initially saved by Connor Olson but David Diaz came flying in to send home the rebound making it 4-0.
From that point on Gibault lost all composure. Head coach Darryn Haudrich was later sent off along with two more players from Gibault.
Solorio capitalized on the opportunity and scored two more goals in the following 10 minutes, the first an own goal off a sliding Gibault defender, the second a wide open counter attack finished by Ricardo Silva-Torres to give the Sun Warriors a 6-0 lead with eight minutes to go.
Solorio had little troubles finishing out the final minutes of the match. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the team and their fans started to celebrate as their school won their first ever state title in any sport.
Making the moment even more special, Solario paid tribute to their former teammate Christian Morales who tragically passed away in July of 2016, by carrying his number 23 jersey around during the celebration. Morales would have been a senior this year.
“He was really close with a couple of our seniors, they were a really tight knit group, he was a 4.0 student, an awesome kid” Calleros said. “All season we knew he was there, we weren’t going to make it a rallying cry but he was one of the team and we wanted his family to know he was not forgotten.”
Calleros added: “Ironically, I always carry an extra jersey just incase someone gets blood on it, not knowing and all season it’s been in my bag it was his number. Yesterday when we needed it I was like 23 is Christian, he’s been around with us all season. It was kind of surreal.”
The six goal win for Solario was tied for second largest margin in a class 2A championship match, trailing only Peoria Notre Dame, who won their state title match in 2010 by a score of 8-0.
With the win, Solorio has cemented their place in the conversation as one of the best teams in 2A, despite just have seven seasons under their belt, and with such a young squad, it looks as though the Sun Warriors will be competing for state titles for years to come.
Calleros said: “This just lets the state know we’re here and were going to keep coming hopefully. Our JV won the city championship with all freshman. This year we won and it’s a credit to my seniors but we’re stacked with sophomores and juniors. The cupboard is not bare, so hopefully we’re back.”