History and Heartbreak


Fremd Twitter

Fremd boys soccer team after defeating Warren to win the Sectional Championship

Matthew Conway, Sports Editor

The Fremd boys’ soccer team turned in a stellar 2019 season, advancing to the super sectional round of the IHSA Class 3A tournament for the first time since 2014.

A thrilling 4-1 victory over Warren (Gurnee) in the sectional round propelled Fremd into the super sectionals, where they faced St. Patrick’s (Chicago) in the state quarterfinals. Fremd seniors Jake Schoffstall, Kaelan Conway, Russell Beaupre, John Kating, C.J. Williams and Josh Bennett played their final game in a heartbreaking 5-3 loss to St. Pat’s.

Bennett and sophomore midfielder Eli Schoffstall scored two goals apiece against Warren. Junior Joey Gillespie filled in well for injured senior goalie Artur Cholewa, stopping all but one shot on goal. Against St. Patrick’s, Conway scored twice and Kating added a goal. Fremd finished the season 15-2-4 overall, unbeaten in conference play (10-0-2) and ranked 37th nationally and sixth in Illinois.

Against Warren, Fremd’s crisp passing helped the Vikings penetrate into Blue Devils territory. Fremd recorded eight shots on goal and 15 shots total. The Vikings’ aggressive defensive mentality prevented Warren from getting shots on goal, simplifying the game for Gillespie and minimizing the number of saves he had to make. Fremd’s win was a total team effort; after every goal scored, the bench erupted and the crowd cheered enthusiastically.

Head coach Steve Keller was pleased by his team’s performance against Warren.

“We were able to hold off a strong start from Warren and capitalized on our chances,” Keller said. “Once we went up two goals, we seemed to settle down and control the game.”

While Fremd recognized the talent Warren possessed, the Vikings were plenty confident in their own ability and showed their confidence early and often against the Blue Devils.

Defenseman Kaelan Conway described the challenge facing Fremd entering the Warren game.

“For Warren we knew they’d be a physical team to play against and that they were skilled in the back and could play really good possession,” Conway said. “I think the biggest thing that helped us against them was staying calm and just playing our style of soccer.”

Midfielder C.J. Williams also praised Warren’s skill level.

“Warren was able to possess very well in the midfield,” Williams said. “We had to communicate and hustle off the ball on defense to stay with their players and when we did that we were able to win the back and create opportunities offensively.”

Against St. Patrick’s, Fremd was tenacious but a late rally was not enough to save its season. Despite the loss, the Vikings headed home proud of their strong effort.

“St. Patrick’s forward was outstanding, defensively we allowed the Shamrocks too much time in the midfield and got beat a couple times by their forward,” Williams said. “We had them where we wanted them until a couple detrimental mistakes hurt us. We never stopped fighting in that one but it wasn’t enough.”

Conway spoke about the challenge Fremd faced against St. Patrick’s.

“St. Patrick’s was obviously a great team, probably one of the most technically skilled teams in the state,” Conway said. “We knew they were crafty on the ball so we focused on playing as solid defense as we could and not letting them have a ton of time on the ball to create chances.”

Team chemistry was vital to Fremd’s success this season. The senior class had played together for ten years, developed close friendships on and off the field and knew what it would take to accomplish their lofty goals. They dealt well with the high-pressure situations of the playoffs because they experienced similar success during the regular season, playing every game as if it were their last.

“For me personally I have played in big games before and have the experience and for the young guys we played a few games with big crowds in our regular season, such as Palatine and the conference championship,” Schoffstall said. “I think we played our hearts out and left it all on the field every game and I’m proud of how my teammates played.”