Girls Soccer: West Aurora dominates clash with East AuroraEast Aurora's Andrea Garcia (18), fends off West Aurora's Rebekah Mallette, on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at West Aurora High School. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 7, 2012 7:47PM
While both East Aurora and West Aurora have plenty of underclassmen, the Tomcats’ inexperience was too much to overcome in the annual crosstown battle between the two rivals.
West dominated from the start and defeated the visiting Tomcats 3-0 for its third straight victory. It was the second of three matches for each team in the Blackhawk Invitational, which West Aurora would win if it wins the final match on Wednesday.
East Aurora fields nine sophomores and two freshmen on its 17-player roster, and the player who got plenty of action was sophomore Daisy Sanchez. The first-year goalkeeper was busy for most of the game, but didn’t have much chance at any of the Blackhawk goals.
The first West goal was a product of precision passing. Reilly Kulakowski, one of six sophomores on the Blackhawk squad, sent a pass ahead to Jessica Saffell, who found Sam O’Brien ahead of her with a similar lead pass. O’Brien booted it into the top of the net for a 1-0 lead with 28:29 left in the opening half.
“Getting an early goal like that takes a little air out of the other team and helps us build confidence for the rest of the game,” West Aurora coach Laura Wagley said.
Just three minutes later, Saffell, one of only three seniors on the West roster, got the ball within close range of the Tomcat goal. Saffell’s shot went right toward Sanchez, but it had enough speed to get by the Tomcat goalkeeper.
“Jessica’s a game-changer. She knows it and everyone else knows it,” Wagley said.
East Aurora (3-3) played its best in the latter half of the first half when the Blackhawks had no scoring opportunities. But that would change in the second half.
O’Brien’s shot that forced Sanchez to go to her knees to save it 36 seconds into the second half was a sign of the pressure that West would put on the Tomcats. Winning the vast majority of 50-50 balls, the Blackhawks kept control of the ball and had a number of scoring chances. Saffell just missed a goal when she hit the crossbar. Finally, Daniela Bueno converted a perfect Yulissa Espino corner kick into a goal with 21:20 remaining for the final margin.
“As the game went on, we were able to get the balls in the air and keep possession, and that made things easier on us,” Bueno said.
West Aurora (4-4) put the heat on the Tomcats the entire game with quality corner kicks and with flip throw-ins by O’Brien near the goal.
Andrea Garcia was a bright spot for East with several chances on long lead passes. Deziree Ornelas and Alejandra Rodriguez also had scoring chances. But the Tomcats put only three shots on Blackhawk goalkeeper Gabi Hansen for the game.
“It was disappointing, because considering it was an East-West game, we should have been more motivated,” Tomcats coach Matt Shirk said. “We’ve been making strides because we’re getting more girls who are playing year around. But the way we went after the 50-50 balls today, it didn’t look like we wanted it as much as West.”