Naperville North holds on for win
Updated: September 27, 2011 9:41PM
Playing what coach Joe Sustersic called West Aurora’s “best game of the year,” the Blackhawks made top-ranked Naperville North earn a 1-0 victory in order to remain unbeaten.
The fans who weathered a soaking rain during the second half were treated to a quality high school battle. On the one hand, Naperville North wasn’t at the top of its game offensively, but the Huskies fought off West Aurora’s repeated efforts for an equalizer in order to improve to 14-0-1 on the season and 7-0-0 in DuPage Valley Conference play. The host Blackhawks came out of the contest with an 11-7-0 ledger and a 2-3-0 league record.
The lone goal of the match came after 10:34 as Kyle Lindberg’s pass led Evan Trychta to the far side from where a stellar cross found Danny Sullivan in position to park a five-yarder inside the right post. It. Was Sullivan’s 10th goal of the season and the third consecutive match in which the junior midfielder has scored.
“I saw Evan down the left side so I just broke toward the goal and he played a perfect ball to me,” Sullivan explained. “It’s a good win for us because we’re trying to build toward the playoffs.”
West Aurora’s Steve Rivera had a solid chance midway through the opening half but his header sailed over the crossbar while Josue Mejia had a 12-yard rocket from the right wing stopped by North goalie Kevin Anderson. While the Huskies finished with a 12-8 advantage for overall attempts, the shots on goal was a much closer 5-4 tally. That’s particularly notable because with 5:07 remaining, West Aurora was whistled for deliberate handling within the penalty box. Blackhawk keeper Alex Guillen not only blocked Trychta’s penalty kick attempt, but then got his leg in front of a rebound blast.
“I thought he looked a little nervous and I guess the right way. A little more to the side and it would have been by me, but I was able to reach it and block it, the second one was being lucky,” Guillen admitted. “I was starting to get up and I put my foot out for his follow-up shot and blocked it.”
West Aurora pressured the North goal to the very end but Anderson and his defensive teammates were up to the task in registering the Huskies’ 11th shutout of the season.
“In a game like this you know the other team is going to push the attack and sometimes it does seem like the clock is in slow motion,” Anderson said. “As a keeper, you never want to fade away from any challenge and the key to our success is how hard we all work for each other. We don’t really think about being undefeated because whether your 1-7, 12-0, you never go into a match thinking you’re going to lose.”
In that respect Naperville North head coach Jim Konrad was only relieved with the outcome.
“I’m glad we got the win, but I’m not happy with the way we played. We backed off on a couple tackles and in a match like this, that could be the difference. Thankfully Kevin came up big for us and I thought Neil (Wiaranowski) and Lee (Grander) did a great job talking on defense,” Konrad added.
“This was our best game of the year,” West Aurora’s Sustersic insisted. “We had one mental mistake, a double team situation where one guy chose not to do his assignment and against a team the caliber of North, that’s enough to lose on. We didn’t execute and they made us pay.”