Seniors lift Batavia past Warriors
Updated: October 22, 2011 9:42PM
With its senior-packed squad — 16 to be exact — it’s only fitting the Batavia boys soccer team had two of them score the tying and winning goals against Waubonsie Valley.
Forwards Cody Witkowski and Erick Ontiveros netted the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs’ goals in Batavia’s 2-1 victory over the No. 10 Warriors in the Class 3A Waubonsie Valley regional title game Saturday on a perfect afternoon in Aurora. This is the Bulldogs’ 10th regional title, but first since 1995.
“We didn’t want this to be our last time playing together,” Witkowski said. “It feels fantastic to advance. So good.”
With the win, Batavia (16-5-2) advanced to the Naperville North sectional semifinal Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Naperville Central. The No. 3 Redhawks advanced after topping No. 6 Wheaton Warrenville South, 2-0, for the Naperville Central Regional title.
“(Naperville Central is) going to be tough,” Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. “It’s anybody’s game right now. It’s an incredible sectional ... you have to bring it every day.”
The Warriors scored just 25 seconds into the game on junior forward Sammy Bell’s penalty kick. The score remained at 1-0 in the first half.
“It’s about the only good thing we did today,” Waubonsie Valley coach Angelo DiBernardo said. “Sometimes when you score that early in the game, it could be good or bad. I don’t think it was positive for us. I felt for the rest of the game, after the first 10-15 minutes of the first half, physically, (Batavia) started to take over. They gained confidence and they became more aggressive. It seemed like we did not have the energy we usually have.”
With about 20 minutes left in the game, freshman forward Ian Larson connected on a pass with Ontiveros. for his score.
Less than eight minutes remained in the game when Larson found Witkowski for the eventual game-winner, his 17th goal of the season.
“The goalie was off his line, and (Witkowski) recognized that well and he flicked it right in,” Gianfrancesco said. “We’ve seen it all year.”
Waubonsie Valley closed the season at 9-8-3 overall.
“In many instances, when we lost games, we were in those games,” DiBernardo said. “Since we are a very young team (four seniors), the future is very bright.”