Warriors continue recent dominance over rival Wildcats
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By Paul LaTour
Freshman Jenna Romano wasn't a complete stranger to the rivalry between Waubonsie Valley and its sister school Neuqua Valley before Monday night.
Last year Romano was in the stands as the Warriors upended the Wildcats 2-1 in a four-overtime sectional semifinal battle that stretched across two days because of a storm.
This time Romano had a more active role in helping the Warriors once again beat their rivals.
Romano's second-half goal helped Waubonsie secure a 2-0 Upstate Eight Conference home victory and avenge a regular-season loss to the Wildcats last season.
"I've been working for this and varsity has been a goal of mine," Romano said.
"But starting and scoring a goal is unbelievable. I did not expect that at all."
The Warriors (7-0-1, 4-0 UEC) are doing many things almost nobody expected this season.
After losing a stellar class of seniors to graduation, highlighted by All-American Bri Rodriguez, Waubonsie is proving the program has incredible depth.
A dominating win over previously top-ranked Naperville North last week turned some heads.
And Monday's victory over current No. 1 Neuqua (10-1-1, 4-1) should continue to garner positive attention for the Warriors.
"I think people thought we weren't going to be as good because we lost that group of really good seniors," said junior Hannah Klancic, who assisted on Romano's goal.
"But we have a lot of people who are getting things done for us."
Of course, having someone like senior Vanessa DiBernardo returning doesn't hurt. DiBernardo scored in the 31st minute, picking up her team-leading 10th goal.
DiBernardo sprinted through the middle to catch up to a through ball from freshman Rachele Armand and put it behind Wildcats goalkeeper Lauren Noonan.
The goal came just after a five-minute span in which DiBernardo missed on three scoring chances.
"I don't want to talk about that," DiBernardo said, laughing.
"When I had that (scoring) shot I was telling myself, place it, place it – don't miss it like last time. I concentrated really hard and put it away."
The Warriors made it 2-0 in the 64th minute on Romano's goal, a near-duplicate play of the first goal.
This time it was Klancic sending a perfect through ball to Romano, a midfielder who was in the open when she scored from 10 yards out, beating Alexa Wilde, who replaced Noonan for the second half.
While the Wildcats put some pressure on the Warriors for much of the second half, they couldn't get anything past Allison Fox, who finished with six saves.
The victory continued the Warriors' recent dominance in the series with Neuqua.
Waubonsie won for the seventh time in the past eight meetings since 2006. It also gave the Warriors an 8-7 edge in the overall series.
The Warriors were happy for gaining a measure of revenge for last season's loss to Neuqua, which prevented Waubonsie the opportunity for a fourth consecutive UEC title.
"When you lose to somebody you really want to beat, you want to come out and show them you can play with them and beat them," DiBernardo said.
"Losing to them last year – even though we won the next time – was still in our minds. We didn't like it so we wanted to take it out on them on the field."
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