Sandburg squeezes out win
Updated: September 1, 2011 9:04PM
With host Naperville Central unable to capitalize on its best opportunities, Sandburg squeezed out a 1-0 victory on Thursday in the middle round of group play for the Best of the West Tournament.
After Tuesday’s tourney-opening triumph, the Redhawks’ work ethic was a key to finishing chances, winning 50-50 balls, and generally outhustling their opposition. Two nights later, that something “extra’ was missing and despite having a slight edge in overall attempts (14-11) and shots on frame (7-6), it was the Eagles pulling out the win in the final five minutes.
While Sandburg stands 2-1-1 overall, the Eagles sport a 2-0 tourney record heading into Saturday morning’s tangle with defending tourney champion Fremd, which was a 3-0 loser to the Redhawks. Naperville Central looks to rebound from its initial setback (3-1-0) and avenge a loss to Waubonsie Valley in last year’s group-play finale.
In the process of attacking the Central goal, Zack Biel’s head flick toward the back post found Sandburg teammate Danny Lojek in the right place for a four-yard header near the right post.
“Somehow I just felt that this time the flick would be near the far post so I did my best to get there quick and finish,” the senior captain said in regard to his second goal of the year. “We didn’t catch any breaks in our first two matches and came into this tournament wanting to prove we’re better than our start.”
“I never go into a match simply wanting a 1-0 win, but this was a huge relief,” Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume said. “It was a rough first half and Central’s physical style put us off initially. We talked about the need for a better second half by adapting and stepping up to the challenge, as a result our possessions were much better. I also thought Alex Rohder has consistently worked hard for us in every match and made a difference on the little hustle plays.’
For Naperville Central, Mike Plant was seemed to be in as much shock as disappointment after the contest.
“We just didn’t have the fire we had on Tuesday,” the senior tri-captain lamented. “Wanting to win 50-50 balls, beating our opponent off the ball, using each other, it just wasn’t there. The obvious lesson is that we have to come out focused and playing our best in every game, regardless of whether it’s the post-season, a conference match, a regular-season contest, or a tournament situation like this. We need to show we’re competitors every time out.”
“Did we play poorly? No. But did we play with an edge? Unfortunately no,” Redhawk coach Troy Adams said. “Great teams always have an edge, it doesn’t just come and go but tonight, as a group, we lacked that extra desire. I was happy to see Corey Halford respond to a chance to be in the starting line-up. Here’s a one-time JV player who never complains regardless of what position we have him play, instead he just asks questions about how to play better.”