Waubonsie Valley, Batavia reach regional finalSam Bell (top) of Waubonsie Valley collides with Thomas Mojica (11) of Benet Academy while battling for a header. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 18, 2011 9:27PM
It’s not exactly a Lazarus-type comeback story, but the Waubonsie Valley boys soccer team was 1-4 early in the season and at one point went three straight games without a goal.
What the Warriors were was battled-tested and Tuesday night in the Waubonsie Valley Class 3A Regional semifinal they displayed that acquired toughness.
On the strength of a Tyler Yanisch goal in the 50th minute, the 10-seed Warriors ousted No. 7 Benet from the playoffs 1-0, sending Waubonsie to Saturday’s 3 p.m. final against No. 2 Batavia.
“We struggled early in the season, but the team really came together,” Yanisch said. “We got people in the right spots and started to put away goals, and started playing good defense too.”
Benet (14-5-2) could find no room to attack against the Warriors’ defense. There were only five shots for the Redwings and just two on frame, both easy saves.
Waubonsie (9-7-3) owned every ball in the midfield, and for a 12-minute stretch of the second half peppered the Benet goal with shots, finally breaking through when junior Timmy Miller’s short cross on the endline found Yanisch’s foot in the middle of goal.
“Their defense played great,” Redwings coach Sean Wesley said. “They played with kind of an energy and a passion that we lacked. That was the difference in the game and their goal. But it all came off their hard work, them playing at a tempo we just couldn’t match.”
Benet keeper Kyle DelSanto played a tremendous game to keep the score from appearing worse, recording five tough saves.
Now Waubonsie gets to square off with the team they beat 3-2 earlier in the year.
“It’s going to take us playing good like we did tonight, but playing a little more soccer and a little less kicking,” Warriors’ coach Angelo DiBernardo said. “Both teams will come out trying to win the regional.”
“Second time is always tougher,” Yanisch added.
Batavia 7, Bolingbrook 1
All it took was one early goal, and like a faucet had been turned on full blast, more came rushing from Batavia’s aggressive goal scorers.
The Bulldogs used two goals each from senior Cody Balogh and sophomore John Barnes to drown Bolingbrook 7-1 in the Waubonsie Valley Class 3A Regional semifinal Tuesday evening.
“I’m pleased with coming out and jumping on them right away and scoring in the first five minutes,” Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. “That was great, and then keeping the pressure on them.”
Balogh scored just 3:41 into the game on a perfect through ball by midfielder Eduardo Cuautle, catching Balogh mid-run up the middle.
“The goalie didn’t come off his line so I just took a touch and put it in the corner,” Balogh said.
The aggressive nature of the No. 2 seed Bulldogs (15-5-2) was too much for No. 14 Bolingbrook (11-11-1). Batavia took 19 shots with 15 on goal.
Barnes scored the first of his two goals 24 minutes in, kneeing home a long pass from senior defender Justin Carey that was not intended to be a shot.
“It was a great ball out of the back by Justin,” Barnes said. “I just tried getting it forward and it happened.”
Batavia went to half 2-0 and just minutes in the second half got a huge goal from senior forward Aaron McNamara off a beautiful heel kick, no-look pass from Cuautle.
“A lot of creativity,” Gianfrancesco said. “Cuautle was all over the field distributing the ball, making great looks. ... That 2-0 bad score in soccer, we wanted 3-0 right away. We wanted to keep pressing.”
Balogh, Anthony Torres and Nick Barstatis all followed with goals in a five-minute span, before the Raiders’ Priest Bonsu tapped in a goal off an initial keeper save.
Barnes tapped in his own rebound not long after, sending Batavia off to play Waubonsie in Saturday’s 3 p.m. final.
“We just need to attack and score goals right away,” Gianfrancesco said. “I think when we do we put teams on the defensive right away and they have to come back against us.”