Batavia gets jump on Waubonsie Valley in tourney opener

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One day of the Waubonsie Valley Tournament doesn’t decide the winner, but Batavia’s 4-0 win Monday means the host Warriors have a massive hill to climb to defend the title.

“Batavia gaining the maximum (eight) points certainly means we’ve put ourselves into a very difficult position,” Waubonsie Valley coach Jose Garcia said.

However, both teams have to put the tourney opener out of their minds until play resumes on Thursday.

For the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (14-1-2), the immediate focus is on a Tuesday visit to St. Charles North, with the aim of going a perfect 6-0 in the Upstate Eight River. Batavia also has a 12-match unbeaten streak (10-0-2) on the line.

Waubonsie Valley (6-5-3) has to regoup to welcome Neuqua Valley for a Upstate Eight Valley game Tuesday. After that, the Warriors face Metea Valley on Thursday in a game that doubles as a conference meeting and the second round of the tournament.

The Mustangs were unable to hold a halftime lead in Monday’s other tournament game as Lemont rallied for a 2-1 win.

Batavia was the aggressor from the start and gained a lead after 11:38 as Luke Laurich’s assist enabled Ian Larson to blast home an 11-yarder from right of center. It was the senior’s 17th goal and a measure of revenge for last year’s playoff loss as well as previous tourney losses to the Warriors.

“Losing our first match in the tourney last year and having them knock us out of the playoffs gave us some extra motivation,” Larson said. “We had good intensity at the start, but after the first goal we seemed to slow down. We regrouped at halftime and finished strong.”

That they did, and Larson also met his definition of a successful outing by having more assists than goals. Just 3:43 into the second half, he bounced a shot off the Waubonsie goalie and Matt Allen was there to put in the rebound for his fourth goal.

“It was being in the right place at the right time, but that’s easier to anticipate knowing that on any cross, Ian is going to be there and he has such a hard shot, rebounds are often available,” Allen said.

There was 22:04 left when Larson found Davis DiBiase on the left side for an eight-yard strike. Larson’s corner kick with 6:46 remaining became a tap-in for Joe Jorgenson.

“We held them off for much of the first half and played pretty well, but that’s not enough against a team as talented as Batavia,” Garcia said. “We didn’t have as many opportunities as I would have liked.”

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