By: John Nee '93
Co-Head Coaches Tim McCarthy and Bob Kellam had a good feeling at the start of this season that the soccer program was ready to take a big jump in competing for a catholic league championship, and a (5-0-1) start to the year did nothing but fuel that positive feeling.
But a difficult stretch at the beginning of September when the "Kicking" Mustangs dropped four straight matches to catholic league foes while scoring only one goal in the two-week stretch definitely tested the teams mettle.
How would the team, who had not won a catholic league championship since back-to-back titles in 2006-2007, respond?
The response was pretty resounding as they reeled off 11 straight victories to claim the Chicago Catholic League Green championship before finally dropping their final non-conference matchup of the year to Marist 1-0.
Without a regional title in the trophy case since 1990, the first year at the 77th street campus, the Mustangs set out to make history as they competed in the IHSA Oak Forest Class 2A regional.
St. Rita began state playoff action as heavy favorites over an out-manned Bogan team, and they came away victorious with an easy 5-2 win behind a hat trick for their leading goal scorer on the season, junior Langston Bedgood. That set the stage for the Mustangs to win their first regional title in 28 years as they would battle the host team Oak Forest in the regional championship match.
The Mustangs would have many chances throughout the match as they controlled the action throughout, but they were unable to find pay dirt as they were shut out 1-0 in their quest for history.
In addition to the achieving a program-best (16-6-1) final record including a CCL Green title, several Mustangs earned individual honors during the historic season. Langston Bedgood, Tyler Padilla, Brendan Breslin, Carlos Sanchez, Ray Dangles, and Chuy Flores earned All-Catholic League 1st-team honors while Julio Walton, Logan Corum, and Jamie Banuelos were recognized as honorable mention All-Catholic.
Junior Langston Bedgood was also recognized by the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association as all-sectional, and 17 of the team's 19 members were named Chicago Catholic League All-Academic by achieving a 3.00 gpa or higher.
Coaches Tim McCarthy and Bob Kellam were also recognized as the Tony Lawless Award winners as the top coaches in the Chicago Catholic League Green.
With three juniors and three sophomores from this year's team earning some type of recognition from the league for their play on the field, the future looks bright as the soccer program will look to build upon their successful 2018 season.