Warriors get past Wildcats to complete 2-0 week
By Curt Herron
Few coaches gain much satisfaction from seeing their squad win a match that's halted midway through due to the weather.
That certainly applies to someone who is among the very best from this state to ever play the game, Angelo DiBernardo.
But the veteran Waubonsie Valley coach also knows that the well-being of players is paramount, so safety must prevail.
DiBernardo has seen weather-related disruptions affect his team twice in the past two weeks, both times midway through.
The Warriors and St. Charles East were scoreless when bad weather halted the earlier match, which was on September 19.
On Thursday, lightning brought an abrupt end to Waubonsie's Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division match in Aurora.
But unlike that earlier instance which resulted in a draw, the Warriors had scored an early goal against West Chicago.
The score by Drew Valek in the eighth minute proved to be the difference as the Warriors captured the 40-minute affair.
Just prior to the start of the last half, officials halted play due to the presence of lightning in the southern skies.
As the teams huddled inside of the school during the mandated 30-minute delay, the two sides settled upon the obvious.
It was pointless to continue, so per IHSA rules, Waubonsie claimed a 1-0 victory since it led with one half completed.
The Warriors not only claimed two UEC Valley victories this week but also posted consecutive wins for the first time.
Despite the positive results from the week, DiBernardo still is looking for a more-complete performance from his team.
"We're still trying to get over the inconsistency and trying to put an 80-minute effort together, which we haven't been able to do," DiBernardo said.
"The effort in the last couple of games has been better and the preparation has perhaps been a little bit better but we still have a ways to go."
Waubonsie (5-5-2, 2-2-1) is back at the .500 mark for the first time since it kicked off the season with a 2-1 record.
The Warriors hope to build on this week's wins when they compete in their own tournament, which takes place next week.
While Waubonsie has gone 3-1-1 since its shortened match with the Saints, WeGo (0-13-3, 0-4-1) has struggled of late.
Jose Villa's Wildcats, who were 4-5-1 before giving back their wins, have gone 0-4-2 in their last half dozen outings.
Worse yet for WeGo is the fact that although it has allowed only five goals during that span, it has scored just once.
"It's very frustrating," Villa said. "We were talking about making some adjustments at halftime and not even realizing that they were thinking about calling it.
"The next thing we know, we see flashes of lightning, and obviously that's something that we can't control. We needed to take care of what we could in the first half."
The Wildcats also dropped 1-0 decisions to Oak Park and River Forest, Bartlett and Morton during the past two weeks.
In addition, they played draws with Benet Academy (1-1) and East Aurora (0-0) so they've certainly been right there.
Things don't get any easier for WeGo next week as it plays road matches against Neuqua Valley and Naperville North.
"We're playing strong against some good opponents, and that's the main thing that I want our guys to realize," Villa said. "We just have to finish on some of our shots.
"We'll go back to practice tomorrow and prepare for Tuesday's game. We'll work on some offensive opportunities and different situational stuff so that we can score.
"We're keeping with teams but our defense can only hold out for so long so we need some scoring. We can't play for a 0-0 tie so we do need to pick it up offensively."
The Warriors came out of the gates quickly, firing off a number of attempts early on, one of which was on the mark.
Shortly after Casey Bucz bounced one off of the crossbar, he had a hand in what proved to be the match's lone score.
In the eighth minute, Bucz directed a pass to Valek, who put in a shot from in front of the net to put the hosts up.
"We were going at it throughout the whole half and taking shot after shot," Valek said. "On mine, I turned and shot and luckily it went in. It's rough to have another game like this, but I'm just happy that we could come away with the victory.
"We had a rough start to the season and were only 3-5 coming into October and we're now 2-0. We want to make sure that we're improving, and we've done that so far. After we had a team meeting, we've been going at it a lot harder in practice."
Just before the half's midpoint, Noah Griffith also had a close call for the Warriors, sending one just over the net.
WeGo had what was likely its best chances of the evening with about a quarter of an hour remaining before the break.
Misael Duran sent a pass to Ricardo Esparza, who fired off a shot which forced a diving stop by keeper Jordan Ward.
After placing another try a bit high, Griffith found Bucz, who got free before Paolina Mansera came out for the stop.
The Wildcats had two more late chances but John Chapman headed away a long free kick from Jerry Medina on the first.
With just over a minute left before halftime, Oswaldo Estrada sent in a long-distance but the attempt was thwarted.
Just as play was about to resume, lightning was spotted and after a conference, the match was ruled to be official.