Boys Soccer: Plainfield Central routs Plainfield NorthPlainfield Central's #8, Billy Ballentine left, fights for a ball against Plainfield North's #5, Jake Novacek, at Plainfield North High School in Plainfield, IL on Monday September 24, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2012 8:53PM
Plainfield Central has taken its lumps while embarking on a very challenging non-conference slate, but if there was any doubt the six-time defending Southwest Prairie champion was still a major contender in the league, the Wildcats put those to rest Monday.
Five players scored, with Mohammad Rashid leading the way with a goal and two assists, as visiting Central routed Plainfield North 5-0.
“We’re definitely starting to turn it around,” Central coach Kevin Fitzgerald said. “Our record isn’t pretty, but we can’t help that now. We’ve just got to keep getting better. (Monday) we played the way we’ve wanted to play from the beginning.”
With strong winds at their back in the first half, the Wildcats (7-7-1, 1-1) jumped to a quick lead, Rashid setting up Miguel Sanchez with a nice pass for the first goal 16 minutes in.
Rashid showed off his distributing skills again five minutes later, his cross-field pass finding Sam Espinal, who headed it home.
North (3-6-3, 0-3), looking forward to the wind advantage in the second half, was still very much in the match, but Rashid delivered a backbreaker with 3:07 left before the break, coming up with a loose ball and scoring.
“That helped,” Rashid said. “The first and second goals really pumped everybody up, too. We knew we had to take a lead so we could relax in the second half.”
North put some pressure on in the second half. Logan Wright put a shot on goal that was saved by Tyler Badertscher, and Emmanuel Bofah created a couple chances but could not put a shot on target.
“Give Plainfield Central credit,” North coach Jim O’Hara said. “They were clearly the better team today. We just lack confidence right now. We need a win to get us going.”
Miguel Duran and Billy Ballentine added second-half goals for North.
“We’re trying to take conference again,” Rashid said. “We lost to Plainfield South, so we have to win all the rest. We’re trying our best.”