Custom Search

Coach: Guy Callipari
Darby Anderson Jr., M
Mike Bennett So., F
Anthony Berardi So., F
Jack Coutre Sr., M
Luis Cruz Jr., D
Dom Dalmasso Sr., D
Ian Daniels Jr., M
Eddie Dreyer Jr., M
Edson Gomez So., GK
Jurguen Gomez Jr., F
Adrian Guzman So., F
Edwin Huerta Jr., M
Christian Lazcano So., GK
Elliot Kettle Jr., M
Max Leonard Sr., D
Jose Perez Jr., M
Everardo (Lalo) Robles Sr., D
Joe Spera Sr., D
Mike Stelletello Sr., D
Ryan Trockman Sr., D

Tigers, Falcons settle for a draw in DVC opener


By Matt Le Cren

Wheaton Warrenville South hadn’t scored a goal in its last four games heading into Tuesday night’s clash with crosstown rival Wheaton North.

Senior Max Leonard, who has switched from defense to primarily a midfield role this year, came into the match having never scored a varsity goal.

Leonard and the Tigers ended both droughts, but despite outplaying the visiting Falcons for key stretches it wasn’t enough to produce a victory.

Wheaton North junior Dan Norton tied the game on a penalty kick with 7:32 left in regulation and the Falcons hung on through two dicey overtime periods for a 1-1 draw at Red Grange Field in the DuPage Valley Conference opener for both teams.

For Wheaton North, the result was a bit of a confidence boost considering the Falcons won just five games over the past two seasons. Now they are off to a respectable 2-3-1 start.

“This is a team that even though we’re talented it does take a bit of forgetfulness,” said North coach Tim McEvilly, who is beginning his second tour of duty as the Falcons boss.

“They’ve struggled for a few years and these are scars that we’re trying to remove and sometimes it’s hard to forget how to lose. It’s easy to learn how to lose; it’s hard to forget.”

It would have been easy for the Falcons to lose this one after the Tigers (1-3-2, 0-0-1) outshot them 14-3 during the second half.

But it was North that scored the only goal of the half after Jackson Duncan was dumped in the penalty area following a long free kick from Alex Bienduga.

Norton stepped to the spot and blasted a shot into the middle of the net. The ball had so much pace on it that Tigers goalie Edson Gomez didn’t even move as it sailed past his right elbow.

“Jackson had fought hard for a couple balls where he got pushed off pretty strong in the second half and I think it was a well-earned penalty kick,” McEvilly said. “Danny was sick tonight. We had him out for a period of time.

“We didn’t think he was going to be able to go back in and he steps up to take that PK and that’s a gutsy PK. He drilled that ball and even if that keeper stayed there I don’t think he would have caught the ball without falling inside the goal.”

But that would be North’s only real scoring threat. Gomez made four saves, all on shots from distance, including a one-hop stop on a 25-yard free kick from Norton in the first half.

McEvilly was encouraged by his squad’s play in the opening half even though it ended with the Tigers leading 1-0. South held a mere 4-3 edge in shots at the break.

“We had the ball at their end of the field for 30 out of the 40 minutes,” McEvilly said. “Now, we didn’t get any shots off, which is a problem, but we possessed.

“I think we owned possession. Now, we did not get behind people in the final third like we should. Just having the ball is worthless if you’re not going to get behind people, but we had it.”

But overall it was the Tigers who were more dynamic offensively. They grabbed the lead at the 17:39 mark of the opening half thanks to wonderful give-and-go play off a throw-in from the left side of the midfield.

Javier Rosas and Jurguen Gomez quickly diced the defense and Rosas sent a quick pass into the left side of the penalty area to Leonard, who beat North goalie Alex Jiskra top shelf with a blast from eight yards away.

“It was a team effort,” Leonard said. “Everyone just played well from the throw-in to the goal at the end. We had some good bang-bang passes and finished it.”

Rosas, who was a little under the weather, was one of the more dangerous Tigers along with junior midfielder Elliot Kettle and sophomore forward Anthony Berardi.

“He’s very creative on the ball,” Leonard said of Rosas.

“I feel pretty confident,” Rosas said. “I feel like I could have done a little bit better, but it wasn’t quite my day, I guess, because I’ve been sick.”

It wasn’t quite South’s day because though the Tigers created plenty of chances, most of the 22 shots they took came from distance.

Kettle and Ian Daniel both saw shots sail just wide of the right post and Jiskra had an excellent game, coming up with 10 saves, including an alert denial of Mike Stelletello’s volley on the far post after a Kettle corner kick with 5:40 remaining.

The Tigers peppered the Falcons in the final five minutes and missed a golden opportunity to win in regulation when Kettle served a long ball to Berardi racing into the box with 25 seconds remaining, but Berardi’s chip over the charging Jiskra bounced a foot wide of the right post.

“I thought we came back after [the penalty kick] and played a really good last 15 minutes and then we had some great opportunities in overtime,” South coach Guy Callipari said. “We have to change things up. We can’t be so predictable, but it’s still early in the campaign and we’ll be fine as we go forward.

“We need to build a little bit more. We talked about getting shots and now it’s about getting quality of shots and getting opportunities where we can be a little bit more effective. They played with good confidence and poise under pressure conditions, so I’m very hopeful.”

The Tigers also had to feel good about their defense, which was rock solid with Stelletello, Darby Anderson, Joe Spera and Everardo Robles keeping pressure away from Gomez.

Center back Stelletello was especially effective, consistently stopping North rushes before they got too close. Duncan was denied twice by Stelletello, once when his shot was blocked at the top of the box and the other coming when he dribbled 50 yards up the field before Stelletello relieved him of the ball.

“We’re still trying to find what our identity is,” Callipari said. “We’ve gone to a little bit different style of play trying to shore up the back a little bit defensively.

“We had a string there where we gave away eight goals in three games. We were kind of snake-bitten by dead ball environments through most of it and I think there were only two or three goals scored through the run of play.

“And even tonight, with seven minutes to go a PK is awarded and that’s unfortunate because we had the ball secured and we had the goal framed and there’s no danger. So that’s frustrating, but that’s the game.”

And so both sides ended up less than satisfied but still hopeful with the result.

“We just got unlucky with that call in the box, but we just have to look forward and work off of this,” Leonard said. “We have to continue to progress, learn from each other.”

For McEvilly, the tough part is convincing his troops of their ability.

“There are a lot of kids that have talent,” McEvilly said. “Every kid on this roster plays and gets meaningful minutes. They all can do something to help us win a game.

“But they’ve got to believe in themselves. I believe we can beat anybody in this conference.”

Those victories may not happen overnight, but McEvilly is convinced he has some of the pieces in place.

“I think Aaron Deeke’s strength in midfield and tackling is great,” he said. “Danny Norton is as dangerous a player that there is in conference with the speed he can play at. We have Zach Oslund who has taken on a lot of responsibility in the back trying to get some kids that are newer back there to play. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”



© 2013 WestSuburbanSports. All Rights Reserved.