Being a Waubonsie Valley soccer fan is a little bit like doing the wave.
One moment you’re up, the next you’re down.
The vociferous supporters were up on Tuesday night after the Warriors stunned Neuqua Valley 2-0 in Aurora.
Senior Jon Braun scored twice in the second half as Waubonsie Valley snapped Neuqua Valley’s seven-game winning streak and prevented the Wildcats from clinching the Upstate Eight Valley title outright.
Metea Valley can grab a share of the Valley title if it wins its final two games against Waubonsie Valley and South Elgin, but Neuqua Valley (11-6, 6-1) has already secured a spot in next Wednesday’s UEC championship game at Batavia by virtue of its 2-0 win over Metea on Aug. 28.
“Obviously Neuqua is our rival,” Braun said. “This is one of the biggest games of the season and beating them really boosts our confidence a huge amount. Confidence is a huge part of the game and when we’re feeling good and playing with intensity, we can’t be beat.”
The Warriors (7-5-3, 2-2-2) were coming off a lackluster 4-0 home loss to Batavia on Monday, but as they have done so often this season, they played up to their opponent, becoming the first team to shut out Neuqua Valley in eight games.
The Wildcats, who had won 10 of their last 11 games and had captured the Gateway Classic in St. Louis over the weekend, had outscored opponents 22-4 during their winning streak. But despite outshooting the Warriors 21-7, they failed to solve Waubonsie goalkeeper Eddie Sanchez, who made nine saves to record his first shutout of the year.
“I thought we lost the game in the first half when you look back at it,” Neuqua Valley coach Skip Begley said. “Just too many chances to score and we didn’t.
“Waubonsie’s got a lot of quality wins, so we didn’t take them lightly at all. They are a very up-and-down team. I saw them play last night against Batavia. [It was a] totally different look to their team and well-executed game plan on their part.”
In addition to Sanchez’s effort, the Warriors also blocked several shots in front of the net, including two by senior defender Jason Wolfe in the first half that would have gone in. Wolfe and Jeff Ito helped hold Neuqua star Ryan Ross in check.
“We knew that with Ryan we just had to contain him,” Wolfe said. “We knew Ryan is right-footed so we had to make him stay on his left foot. It was just more tactics is what it all came down to there and Eddie came up with some great saves as well.
“It all comes down to intensity. It looked like we wanted it more than them out there.”
Wolfe assisted on the first goal when he lofted a long ball from the midfield into the left side of the penalty area to Braun, who volleyed it past a defender and Neuqua goalkeeper Brady Moody with 28:36 remaining.
“It was a great ball right between the 18 and the 6 and I was just calm, cool and collected and just put it away off the first time,” Braun said. “At halftime our coaches told us this is our field, this is our night and we didn’t want to lose after losing to Batavia. We wanted to make a statement and that’s what we did in the second half.”
Braun closed the scoring with an unassisted goal with 13:25 left when his hard shot from 15 yards out caromed off a Neuqua defender and past Moody.