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Coach: Peter Ginter
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Warriors strike thrice, top Proviso East


By Paul Johnson

The way things have been going lately, it seemed inevitable that Willowbrook would be getting its first win soon.

Tuesday, the Warriors finally put it all together, withstanding a last-minute charge to earn a 2-1 West Suburban Gold win over Proviso East.

Willowbrook lost to Hinsdale South in penalty kicks in the conference opener and tied York 1-1 Saturday, giving the team hope that the elusive first win of the season could be forthcoming.

“Once it was 1-1, we thought that it might go like it has this whole season,” forward Mike Rogalski said. “But we fought back. We did not give up. Some games this season we just stopped playing after we got down. We kept going today. Especially since it’s conference and the last (conference) game we lost in penalty kicks, we wanted to get a win.”

Proviso East’s Roberto Meza tied the game at 1-1 with 30:18 left in the second half, which gave the Warriors (1-6-1 overall, 1-1 WSC Gold) that familiar feeling. But they stemmed the tide until the final minute and managed to take the lead with 11:17 left.

Rogalski played the ball up the wing to Lucas Betts, who then fed Rogalski with a great pass. He was able to guide it into the top corner of the net to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead on the Pirates (3-5-1, 0-2).

“I played the ball out to Betts in the corner and he looked up and made a really nice pass and I just hit it with my laces, just hoping it would go in the general vicinity of the goal,” Rogalski said. “It went top corner, so that was nice. He just made a nice pass. We’ve been passing the ball a lot better lately, so it’s a lot easier to attack and move the ball forward. We’re playing a lot better lately.”

But Willowbrook was not out of the woods just yet. Proviso earned a free kick from the top of the box with nine seconds left. The Pirates unleashed a wicked shot that stayed on the ground and bounced off of sophomore Willowbrook keeper Asmir Perviz. Luckily for him, his brother Riad was right on the goal line with him and managed to save the ball from going into the net and guided it back to Asmir to preserve the win.

“We were just trying to get the ball out and keep the ball safe because we didn’t want to get scored on,” sweeper Tito Cabral said. “We were just trying to play it safe and not be too reckless. It all just kind of happened. I saw the ball come in and Asmir dove for it and finger-tipped it right to Riad and he poked it back and that’s when Asmir picked it up.”

Proviso East controlled the pace of play for much of the first half, but Willowbrook was still able to go into the half with a 1-0 lead. With 6:06 left in the half, Arkadiusz Salachta played the ball in to Kristian Johansson. Johansson unleashed a shot that ricocheted off the goalie and right back to him. He was able to put in the rebound to stake the Warriors to the early lead.

“We knew that their defense, they like to pass the ball around in the back,” Willowbrook coach Peter Ginter said. “Sometimes they have a hard time getting the ball out, so we wanted to put some pressure on them. We pressed and forced them into a pass they didn’t want to make and when we got the ball, we countered very quickly. I think that worked well for us and created some chances.”

Ginter is happy to see his young team finally start to progress after a rocky start to the season.

“The boys really wanted to win today,” Ginter said. “We’re getting closer. We’re getting better every game. We tied York last Saturday. We could have won that game too. They’re starting to understand our tactics a little better. It’s not quite there yet, but it’s getting better.”

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