By Earleen Hinton
The senior led Hawk soccer team didn't let strong winds or a concrete-like field stop them from beating Byron 4-0 at the Stillman Valley Regional Tuesday afternoon.
"It was super windy tonight, but our seniors knew they had to show up today," said coach Ben Thomas. "No matter how the field was or how the weather was, we knew we had to play well today."
Oregon, the top seed in the regional and BNC Conference West Division Champs, will face Stillman Valley game for the regional championship on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m.
Stillman deafated Winnebago 2-0 on Wednesday.
Tuesday's win avenged a 1-0 loss to the Tigers in regional play last year when Byron upset the higher seeded Hawks.
"We talked about that all last week," said senior Ian Holley. "We made sure we put in an extra effort to make sure that didn't happen again."
With the wind at their back in the first half, Oregon (17-3-2) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by senior Jacob Adams.
Stronger winds in the second half failed to deter the Hawks as Tom McCormick, another senior, added the third Hawk goal.
Holley capped the game off with a nice shot to the right side of the cage with 1:49 left to play.
Oregon goalie Alec Ketter had 3 saves to record his seventh shutout of the season.
Thomas said his team has 3 days to prepare for the regional championship game.
Oregon has defeated Stillman, the number 2 regional seed, twice this season in close matches, but Stillman won regional and sectional titles in 2011 and 2010. They finished fourth in the Class 1 state tournament in 2010.
"We know it's going to be a battle," said Thomas. "Each of us know what the other will bring to the game. The field is definitely not easy to play on and the ball will be bouncing differently, but we will find a way to play."
The winner of the Stillman Valley Regional will face the winner of the Rockford (Keith Country Day School) in Rockford at Wedgebury Stadium (Sportscore Two) on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
The sectional championship is Friday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.