Boys Soccer: Naperville Central triumphs over Waubonsie Valley
Updated: October 20, 2012 7:06PM
On a day when higher seeds were dropping like flies, Naperville Central stayed alive and won a regional championship Saturday.
Nine top 3 sectional seeds did not survive Class 3A regional action, including No. 1 seeds Morton, Palatine and Maine West. In the West Chicago Sectional, No. 2 Naperville North and No. 3 West Chicago both lost, which made top-seeded Naperville Central’s 2-0 victory over Waubonsie Valley at Memorial Stadium all the more impressive.
“At this point of the season all you’re ultimately trying to do is make sure that your score is higher than the other team’s,” a relieved Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said. “Between texts and occasionally looking at my cell I was afraid because I don’t want to see my own name pop up on [the list of upset victims], but we’ve talked a lot about defensive intensity, defensive discipline and that was really what allowed us to do what we wanted today.”
Indeed, the Redhawks (19-1) allowed the Warriors (13-7-1) only three shots and goalie Mike Pavliga had to make one routine save in recording his 13th shutout of the season.
Pat Flynn and defender Connor Allen provided the offense. Flynn delivered the game-winner on a sidewinder volley from 19 yards out at the 21:47 mark of the first half while Allen scored off a rebound with 14:50 to go in the second half.
It was just the latest spectacular finish for Flynn, who has scored in 18 of 20 matches and now has 26 goals, half of which are game-winners. Mike West started the play with a corner kick, which the Warriors headed out toward Flynn.
“The ball just came out and it was kind of high,” said Flynn, who recently committed to DePaul. “I was like, might as well take a swing at it. I worked on it over the summer and I was just hoping to get it on frame, make sure it was low, and I was just fortunate that the ball got through everyone and ended up in the back of the net.”
The Redhawks, who will face No. 5 seed East Aurora (9-7-5) in Tuesday’s sectional semifinals, know they were fortunate to survive the upset-filled day.
“It was nice that all the top seeds fell early so we knew that this game wasn’t going to be easy,” Flynn said. “We knew if we came in weak Waubonsie was a great team. They could really do some damage to us.
“We knew we had to be strong in the back and we just worked hard defensively. Connor Allen had another great game for us and Pavliga has always been strong on the back end.”
Allen’s goal was his first of the season. The senior scored three goals as a forward last year but was moved to center back this fall and was getting ribbed by his teammates for not having scored.
“That goal was really important,” Allen said. “I’ve been looking to score all year and just been missing the post by inches. It’s really exciting to finally score in such an important game. Waubonsie is a really good team and I think this is one of the biggest games we’ve played this year, by far.”
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Warriors, who vastly improved after losing to Central 4-2 in the Best of the West tournament title game on Sept. 1.
“I think that we were [playing our best at the end],” Waubonsie Valley coach Angelo DiBernardo said. “Without a doubt we lost to a good team.”