Cross Country

Ed Berberich’s first year as Mt. Carmel soccer coach has been a long one, with a very young team learning a new system.

After a winless regular season, the Aces picked up their first win when it counts most - in the state tournament series.

Mt. Carmel defeated Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran, 3-1, in the first-round of the IHSA Class 1A regional tournament Friday on the Wabash Valley College pitch.

“After a rough season, we’ve earned the right to move on in the playoffs because these players have stuck with it all year,” said Aces coach Ed Berberich.

The victory sends the Aces into the semifinals. Tuesday, they will face No. 1 seed Carlyle at Breese Central (4:15 p.m.).

Berberich’s team took the lead when Ryan Webb scored on a shot just outside the goalkeeper box after beating two defenders off the dribble.

CORL tied the game after hitting a penalty kick on a foul call in the box. The 1-1 tie held up throughout regulation, leading to 10-minute overtime periods. In the first OT, Quaid Rodgers scored what would be the game-winner on an assist from Webb. Late in the second overtime, freshman Grady Wilkinson iced the win with a long-range shot that hit the far corner of the net.

Berberich said the Aces “dominated possession of the ball throughout the game. We gave ourselves more opportunities to score in this game than in any other to date.”

The other regional semifinal pits Harrisburg against Breese Central on Wednesday.