Stagg was without two of its senior starters as the Chargers took to the field against Sandburg Tuesday night. And, eventually, the Eagles made them pay in a battle of two of the area's top boys soccer teams.
Sandburg scored twice in the second half to notch a 2-0 vicotry.
The Eagles defense also stepped up to the plate, and they were able to limit the Chargers (9-2-2) offense to just six strong scoring chances. Adam Zehme saved all six shots he saw and notched his 11th shutout.
After a scoreless first half, it took just 4:10 for Sandburg (10-3-3) to find the back of the net in the second. Junior striker Kevin Kroll received a crossing pass from Joe Longhi. Kroll's shot went over the hands of diving Stagg goalie Tony Estrada.
Just 8:20 later, in the 54th minute, Sandburg found the back of the net again. This time, midfielder Zack Biel used his head and aired a ball into the top corner of the net.
"Longhi brought it up the sideline and had two men on him, he passed it through one of the guy's legs and it went right to me," Kroll said. "It was a one-time opportunity. It was a great job by our team to get the ball up the field."
Stagg was aggressive in the last five minutes, but only one ball got past the Eagle defenders.
"Defensively, we've been very good lately," Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume said. "(Senior captain) Mike Burns has really started to step it up back there and is taking a leadership role. We're doing a good job of double-teaming, and it showed today."
Stagg standout Greg Healy was limited to just one good shot on goal off a free kick, but he spent most of the first half playing defense. Vuillaume talked about the Eagles' ability to contain the explosive forward.
"He is always a threat, but we were able to stop most passes before they even got to him," Vuillaume said.
Stagg coach Mike Kealy gave credit to Sandburg's well-coached team and strong efforts on both sides of the ball.
"(Sandburg) possessed the ball well, and they earned both of those goals," Kealy said. "They wore us down a bit. We tried to make some adjustments at half, and we just weren't able to adjust that quickly.
"It's very hard to come back and win from down one, let alone two. We gave it a good effort. If we see them again, and my injured guys come back, we'll be able to give them a better game."
Stagg starts conference play Thursday at home against Lincoln-Way West. Sandburg travels to Hinsdale Central on Friday night. It is possible for both teams to meet again in the regional playoffs.