PEORIA — For the Morris soccer team, the dream season is over — yet the dream still lives on.
Playing for just the third time in school history in a sectional match, the Redskins were hoping to take the next step and finally get a win at that level. Despite playing a very close game with Morton at the Peoria Notre Dame Sectional on Tuesday, the locals came up shy of that goal by a 2-0 score.
"It's good to see this from our program. To see them compete at this level and to maintain this level of play going into the sectional," Morris coach Dave Valdivia said. "This is a step up for us. The step used to be to play well in the regional. Now we are setting our goal on state. I'm going to be looking forward to that as long as it takes."
Morris finishes the season with a 9-9-1 record while Morton moves on to play hosting Notre Dame. The Potters have a 12-8-3 mark.
"We expected a fight from Morris," Morton coach Derrek Drenckpohl said. "We knew we had to play 80 minutes tonight. We didn't play our best game, but we got the result. We were able to match their intensity and I'm happy with that."
Morris senior Jacob Komperda said that the Redskins gave it everything they had.
"We played with a lot of heart," he said. "I thought we played very well. Morton played with heart, too. They are a great team and they just got the best of us this time."
Morton scored in the 29th minute of the match when Drew Hodges scored off an assist from Drew Quisenberry.
"The kids have done a nice job of coming together at the right time," Drenckpohl said.
The final goal of the match came with three minutes to go when Carson Gray scored off a corner kick by Wade Rossi.
"The guys played their hearts out and there is really nothing more I can say," Valdivia said. "They battled hard ... the guys brought it. I think its safe to say that we've put Morris soccer on the map."
The Redskins did have several quality scoring chances in the contest, though Morton dominated the score sheet in shots. Kyle Monk had a header glance just wide in the 13th minute and he also booted one just over the bar with about eight minnutes to go. Ricardo Del Toro also had two quality shots in the second half in the 60th and 65th minutes, only to be denied by Morton keeper Jordan Repholz.
"If we could have gotten one of them to go in it would have been good for our spirits," Komperda said.
Morris keeper Brian Vasquez made 11 saves in the losing effort.
"I definitely feel that after this game that we are a closer group," Komperda said.