Custom Search

Coach: Sean Wesley
Assistant coaches:
Manny Aguilar, Martin Uscila
Nick Senak Jr., GK
Konrad Bayer So., GK
Theo Athanassiades Sr., M
Kristian Cikoch Sr., D
Aidan Madden Sr., M
Paddy Lawler Sr., M
Richie Michalik So., D
Sam Knapke Sr., M
Bobby Smith Sr., D
Michael Rindler Sr., M
Michael Manganelli Sr., M
Steven Lobkovich Sr., F
Kyle Kenagy Jr., F
Dustin Uher Jr., D
Jonathan Mojica Sr., M
Daniel Morefield So., F
Andrew Heaton Jr., M
Eddie Manzke Sr., F
Patrick Cleary Jr., M
Trenton Wray So., M
Jack Armonda Sr., D
Michael Krumdick Sr., M
Jared Kovach Jr., D
Matt Emerick Sr., D

Naperville Central comes back to top Benet


By Matt Le Cren

Mother Nature brought the rain and thunder, but it was Naperville Central which made host Benet feel miserable on Saturday.

The Redhawks overcame an early deficit, a 45-minute thunder delay in the second half and torrential rain to knock off Benet 2-1 in Lisle.

Naperville Central thus avenged a 3-2 loss to the Redwings in the Best of the West Tournament championship match and became the first team to win at Benet in three years.

Since losing to Saint Viator 1-0 on Oct. 15, 2010, the Redwings had gone 22-0-1 at home, winning their last 14 starts. This loss was a head-scratcher in that the muddy grass field should have played right into the Redwings’ hands. Instead, they were beaten by a team that plays on artificial turf most of the time.

“I thought like they played better than us,” Benet coach Sean Wesley said. “For 70 percent of the game they were just obviously the better team. They weathered the conditions and were still able to play their game.

“The conditions should have suited us, not them. We wanted to go forward, we wanted to catch them in transition, dispossess and go, and they want to possess. It should have favored us and instead we couldn’t find a way.”

But the Redhawks (12-2-2) found a way, constructing the most beautiful play of the game when conditions were at their worst to score the game-winning goal.

Senior co-captain Jay Tegge potted the decisive score when he raced in and buried a Jordi Heeneman rebound with 8:26 remaining in the second half. The fast-action play started when Sam Reskala and David Murphy worked a give-and-go up the field, with Reskala passing it into Murphy near the top of the Benet box.

Murphy poked the ball out to the left wing to Heeneman, who drove into the box and hit the right post with a 12-yard shot. Tegge alertly tapped in the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.

“We talked at halftime about trying to get our midfield to play a little quicker, to get a few less touches and let’s get it into the guys who are supposed to be scoring the goals and they did a good job,” Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said. “We’re looking sometimes for the perfect opportunity to shoot instead of just the shooting opportunity, so it was nice to see that we came out and had some quality shots on goal.

“With a day like today, they’ve all heard it before: strike the ball, try to skip it on the six and follow up. That’s what you [need] in a game with conditions like today.”

Murphy, who set up Reskala for the tying goal just 1:53 into the second half, said the Redhawks’ familiarity with the Redwings paid off on the deciding goal.

“They like to sit back defensively and we knew that,” Murphy said. “So basically the thing was to get the ball to forwards’ feet and run off it from there, which we did a good job at times of doing that.”

Heeneman, an often overlooked junior forward who thrives doing the dirty work for the Redhawks, was unlucky not to score the winner but wasn’t upset in the least.

“I would like to score but as long as someone gets it in,” Heeneman said. “We’ve been working a lot on getting back door runs and that’s how we always get open, so a win’s a win.”

Though it came in less than ideal conditions, this win was a big one for the Redhawks, who are trying to hit their stride with just 10 days left until the playoffs begin.

“Since we already lost to Benet this was a real confidence booster, especially so close to the playoffs,” Heeneman. We needed it to get up so we can finish out the season how we want to.

“I think the last game [against Benet] we didn’t play as good as we could. I think we started a little slow and today we knew we really needed to come out and that’s what we did. We picked it up and got it done.”

But not before digging themselves a hole. Naperville Central’s defense was superb, especially in the first half when the visitors allowed only one shot.

The Redwings (14-3-1) made that shot count as Michael Rindler gave his squad a 1-0 lead with a terrific 20-yard strike into the upper left corner of the net at the 35:30 mark. The senior took a pass from Sam Knapke and drilled the right-footed shot while moving to his right.

“I’m not happy to see the early goal,” Adams said. “Those are always frustrating and I blame myself. I said, ‘Hey guys, last time they scored in 39 seconds, if we could hold them for two minutes this time.’ I should have extended that to the whole first half.”

Even so, the Redhawks responded by holding Benet without a shot for the next 38 minutes and without a goal for the last 75 minutes. On top of that, they were the better team possessing the ball.

“Obviously [they are] a good team with a lot of quality,” Wesley said. “The rain didn’t bother them. The pressure in the middle didn’t bother them and the goal was fantastic; well-worked, well-executed, fast tempo and the first strike that stayed out was a good strike. It had a chance of going in and then instead of their players quitting on it or hoping that it would go in, they obviously followed it up and found a way and that’s the difference in a game like this.”

The Redwings did create some scoring chances in the second half, including two after the weather delay and the game tied at 1-1. But Rindler sent a short shot right at Redhawks goalie Joe Kallikaden when Kallikaden was on the ground after a scramble midway through the period and then two minutes later Kyle Kenagy roofed an open shot from seven yards out.

“When we needed to connect, we didn’t,” Wesley said. “We wasted the whole first half. Even though the goal we had was fantastic and [we] worked well for the first eight minutes, after that it was just garbage. We tried to play too small. They were giving us the width, they were giving us the big diagonal and we just didn’t find it.

“We figured it out in the second half to our kids’ credit. I thought the second half, before the thunder came in, was our best stretch. We finally changed the momentum and were creating chances."

Ultimately, the Redwings learned what the Redhawks did in the earlier game between the two sides.

“We’ve played some very good teams, but at times we didn’t play our best against good teams,” Murphy said. “To come back later in the season and beat Benet, a good team, going into the playoffs, [now] hopefully [we can] take down North, our rivals.”

Both squads have big games coming up. Naperville Central travels to Naperville North on Tuesday, while Benet can win the East Suburban Catholic Conference title by knocking off Saint Viator on Friday in Arlington Heights. For Central, this win was proof that the Redhawks can come from behind against a quality opponent, something they may have to do in the playoffs.

“Learning to play from behind is something that you never want to have to do but eventually you’re going to have to do it,” Adams said. “We came from behind against Hinsdale Central and got a tie. This game we managed to get a win.”


© 2013 WestSuburbanSports. All Rights Reserved.