By Jason Maholy
Strong seasons by the Marist and Shepard boys soccer teams came to an end against a mutual foe at the Class 3A Lincoln-Way East Sectional.
The RedHawks and Astros both won regional championships – the former taking the title on their home field with a 1-0 victory over Stagg, and the latter winning their first regional crown in 26 years via a 1-0 victory over Reavis in Burbank.
The postseason road for both programs ended in Frankfort last week. Lincoln-Way West vanquished Shepard, 2-0, in the sectional semifinals on Oct. 29, then slipped past Marist, 3-2, in the title game on Nov. 2.
The RedHawks earned their trip to the sectional final with a 2-1 win over Bloom. Ethan Fit and Brendan Raftery scored goals in the match.
Fit, a senior, was one of five Marist players named to the East Suburban Catholic All-Conference Team. He was joined by senior Joey Shannon, sophomore Marc Carreon, sophomore Liam Bennet and senior goalkeeper John Kennedy.
Bennett was named ESCC Defensive Player of the Year, while Kennedy took home the hardware as conference Goalkeeper of the Year.
Shepard won their second consecutive South Suburban Red Conference championship, marking the first time the program ever won back-to-back conference crowns.