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Rams rise to the occasion to win a regional title

The Glenbard East girls soccer team continued its memorable 2016 season by earning the program’s first regional championship on Friday.
The Rams defeated Downers Grove North 2-0 in Friday’s IHSA Class 3A regional title match in Lombard. Glenbard East’s win avenged a 3-0 loss to the Trojans during the regular season.
The regional victory gave the Rams a season record of 20-4 and propelled them into tonight’s sectional semifinal match against Lyons Township at Hinsdale Central High School.
Glenbard East had been pushing closer toward a regional title in recent years. The Rams lost regional championship matches on their home field in each of the two previous seasons. Downers Grove South beat Glenbard East 1-0 in a regional final one year ago. York beat the Rams 2-0 in a 2014 regional title match.
“It feels pretty good; we’ve been building toward it for a long time,” said Glenbard East coach Kent Overbey moments after the Rams accepted the regional championship plaque. “You’re one of the top 32 teams in [Class] 3A when you win a regional. That’s what we’re going for; it’s all centered on getting there.”
Lyons Township is the sectional’s top-seeded team. Glenbard East is the sectional’s No. 5 seed. The Rams beat Lyons Township 1-0 when the two teams squared off in Lombard on May 12. That victory gave the Rams their 18th win of the year, which set a new program record for victories in a season. The 2014 team won 17 matches.
The Rams have recorded shutouts in 17 of their 20 wins. The team has allowed a total of 12 goals in its 24 matches.
Junior Dana Plotke scored Friday’s first goal with about 29 minutes remaining in the 40-minute first half. Sophomore Faith Davies sent a long throw-in toward senior Brittany Paganucci, who headed the ball to Plotke. Paganucci, who has scored 30 goals this season, earned her 18th assist when she directed the ball to Plotke, who sent the ball into the net for her 12th goal of the year.
“I just happened to be at the right spot at the right time,” said Plotke in describing her goal against the Trojans. Plotke noted that the Rams knew they needed to improve on their performance from April 16, when they suffered the 3-0 loss to Downers Grove North at the PepsiCo Showdown in Schaumburg.
“We knew it was one of our worst games of the season,” Plotke said of the April 16 match. “We had to put that behind us.”
Senior Amanda Chlebek scored the Rams’ second goal with about 19 minutes left in the second half. Senior Sammie Sarles assisted the score by launching a corner kick toward the Trojans’ goal. Chlebek headed the corner kick into the net for her fifth goal of the season. Sarles picked up her 12th assist.
“It feels amazing; we are so happy,” said Chlebek after Glenbard East’s regional victory. The title was especially gratifying to Chlebek and her five senior teammates.
“The six seniors knew what we wanted to do,” said Chlebek, who joined her senior teammates in setting goals at the beginning of the season. Those goals included conference and regional championships. The Rams achieved both; they won the Upstate Eight Valley Conference title with an unblemished regular-season record against conference opponents.
Downers Grove North couldn’t convert any of its scoring chances in the regional final against Glenbard East. The defensive line of Sarles, Davies, junior Paige Taylor and sophomore Katie Hansen limited the Trojans’ offensive opportunities, and senior goalkeeper Sierra Dana saved all of the shots that came her way throughout the 80-minute match.
“We’re playing better than we ever have,” said Dana. “We’re moving the ball well; we’re passing it around and we’re hitting shots and they’re going in.”
Paganucci, who will play at Illinois State University, has been a varsity starter in all four of her seasons at Glenbard East. Four other seniors—Chlebek, Dana, Sarles and midfielder Holly Ward—have spent three seasons as varsity starters.
“Our seniors have put in so much time and effort,” said Overbey. “They’ve built this program to where it is.”

Rams’ baseball team captures conference title

The Glenbard East baseball team clinched the Upstate Eight Valley Conference championship on Thursday. The Rams’ 11-4 win at Geneva, combined with South Elgin’s loss to Batavia, assured Glenbard East of sole possession of the conference title.
The Rams and South Elgin began last week locked in a battle for the conference title. The teams squared off in a three-game series from May 16-18. Glenbard East won the first two games of the series, winning the opener 9-2 in Lombard and prevailing 2-0 in the second game at South Elgin. The Storm won the third game of the series, beating the Rams 4-1 in Lombard.
Friday’s victory gave Glenbard East an overall record of 26-8 and a conference mark of 19-3. The Rams played a three-game series against each of their five opponents in the Valley Conference. They earned sweeps in their series against West Chicago and East Aurora and took two of three games in their series against West Aurora, Bartlett and South Elgin. Glenbard East won all seven of its crossover conference games against teams from the Upstate Eight River Conference. Those victories included Thursday’s win at Geneva and Friday’s 7-6, nine-inning win over St. Charles North in Lombard.
Last week’s standout performers for the Rams included Jake Heyman, who pitched six shutout innings in the 2-0 win at South Elgin on May 17. Heyman allowed six hits and one walk. He recorded seven strikeouts. Ryan Schefske pitched a scoreless seventh inning to earn the save. Schefske struck out two batters and did not allow a hit.
Phil Abruzino drove in the Rams’ first run of the game with a fifth-inning single. Jack Moran scored the team’s second run shortly after he reached base with a sixth-inning single.
Glenbard East jumped to an early lead over Geneva by scoring three runs in the top of the first inning of Thursday’s game. Schefske reached base with a leadoff walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Mike Sebby and Heyman contributed singles in the inning. The Rams scored at least one run in each of the remaining six innings. Schefske, who had one hit and walked three times, scored three runs. Sebby, Heyman and Nathan Bertuca each scored two runs.
Friday’s game against St. Charles North was tied at 2-2 after one inning and tied at 4-4 after two innings. Neither team scored over the next four innings. The Stars and Rams each scored one run during the seventh inning. Glenbard East won the game on Conner Grzenia’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Bertuca pitched six and one-third innings, allowing eight hits and three earned runs. He had one walk and one strikeout. Sebby faced one batter and recorded the final out in the top of the ninth inning. He earned the victory to move his overall record to 9-0.
Sebby went 4-for-4 in Friday’s win over St. Charles North. Richard Masciopinto turned in a 3-for-5 performance at the plate, while Phil Abruzino and Heyman each contributed two hits.
The Rams will open the IHSA Class 4A post-season with today’s game at the Glenbard West Regional in Glen Ellyn. Glenbard East will face the Hilltoppers on their own field. A win over Glenbard West would send the Rams into Saturday’s regional championship game against either Batavia or Conant.

Montini softball team ends regular season at 30-3

The Montini softball team finished the regular season with a 30-3 record—the best record in the history of the program. The Broncos completed the regular season with Saturday’s 13-0, five-inning win over Naperville Central at Bandit Stadium in Rosemont. Sophomore Bri Clifton pitched five scoreless innings for Montini. She struck out five batters and gave up three hits. Senior Amy Bukovsky lashed three hits and drove in two runs for the Broncos. Sophomore Nikki Cuchran contributed two hits and drove in three runs. Senior Bell Alexander had two hits and two runs batted in, while freshman Alyssa Filkowski drove in three runs and had two hits.
Montini pounded York 11-3 in Friday’s game in Elmhurst. Junior Naomi Alonzo pitched a complete game and earned the victory. Alonzo allowed five hits and two earned runs over seven innings. Alonzo and Cuchran both pounded home runs for the Broncos, who finished the game with 12 hits.
Playing at home on Thursday, the Broncos beat Willowbrook 11-1 in a five-inning game in Lombard. Clifton pitched all five innings for the Broncos and earned the win. She also hit one of the Broncos’ four homers. Senior Alyssa Sclafani bashed two homers, while Bukovsky connected for one homer.
Montini will open the IHSA Class 3A post-season at a regional on its home field. Two wins at the regional would propel the Broncos to the Glenbard South Sectional. Two sectional wins would send Montini to a supersectional game at Bandit Stadium. A supersectional win would secure a berth in the Class 3A state semifinals in East Peoria.

Glenbard East offers boys basketball camps

Glenbard East boys basketball coach Scott Miller will hold two boys basketball camps in June. One camp is for boys entering grades three through eight in the fall. The other is for boys entering grades nine through 12. Both camps will take place at Glenbard East.
The camp for high school boys features 11 sessions, with each session running from 10 a.m. to noon. The camp takes place each day from June 6-9, June 13-16 and June 20-22.
The camp for grade-school players will consist of eight sessions. Each session takes place from 8-10 a.m. The camp will be held daily from June 13-17 and June 20-22.
Boys who participate in either camp will receive a basketball and a T-shirt. The fee for each camp is $100 per player. For more information, call the Lombard Park District at 630-620-7322.

June 11 fundraiser to help Lightning travel to Cooperstown

The Lombard Lightning 12-U baseball team is holding a fundraiser on Saturday, June 11, to help the team travel to a tournament this summer in Cooperstown, N.Y. The adult-only fundraiser, which will feature a taco dinner and a bags tournament, will take place at Villa Park VFW Post No. 2801, located at 39 E. St. Charles Road. The dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. The tournament begins at 7 p.m. A raffle drawing will take place at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the taco dinner are $15 per person. Tickets that include the dinner and the bags tournament cost $30 per person. A cash bar will be available. Bar proceeds benefit the VFW post.
For more information about the fundraiser, send an e-mail to lombardlightning12Ufundraiser@gmail.com.