Revenge is always sweet, but even sweeter in the post-season.
Similar to a regular-season battle that resulted in a 1-0 score, Waubonsie Valley managed to come out on top against Naperville North at Tuesday’s Class 3A Metea Valley Sectional semifinals.
The win advances the Warriors to Saturday’s 7 p.m. championship and provides the opportunity for an encore of revenge against Naperville Central.
Waubonsie Valley (10-7-2), which posted its seventh victory in its last nine outings, lost a 3-0 meeting to the Redhawks in early September during the Best of the West Invitational.
“Both (against North) were about the same, we lost the first one, we won the second, I guess we won the right one,” Waubonsie Valley coach Angel DiBernardo said with a smile. “It’s been a while, maybe six or seven years since we’ve won a sectional. It’s been a while since we won a regional, so this year is a chance for us to redeem ourselves.”
Waubonsie Valley set about its redemption task on an ominous note when three minutes into the match, senior Ben Zoet suffered a left ankle injury and had to be helped off the field.
Things got better when Robert Ohse unleashed a wicked volley from the right wing that goalkeeper Christian Robert saved. Unfortunately for the Huskies, there was no save when Michael Miller set up Noah Griffith for a seven-yarder from the left side at the 13:08 mark.
“I just wanted to keep my composure and get to the ball with a good first touch, then I was able to get it past their keeper,” Griffith said of his fifth goal of the season and team-best third winner. “Since the start of the year, we talked about putting up plaques. We got the regional one, now we’ve got to get the sectional one.”
Unlike the back-and-forth of the first half, the Huskies put much more effort into their attack in the second half. Three minutes in, Zach Peterson had a 22-yarder carom off the crossbar. Three minutes later, Chris Ensign just missed tapping in a near empty-net attempt.
But in the end, Naperville North (12-7-1) was unable to produce a tying goal.
“That’s the game of soccer. They get a chance in the first half off a bounce and convert, but we couldn’t get one in,” North coach Steve Goletz said. “This was one of our better games played as a group, and our seniors certainly stepped up. We pushed right to the end and I thought we limited their chances.
“However, I told them only one team finishes the season happy, but they should be proud, not only with the way they played but the way they competed.”
It was a second straight postseason shutout and the sixth of the year for Waubonsie Valley, a feat that goalkeeper Jordan Ward was happy to see.
“Two in a row feels great and my defenders have really helped out,” Ward said. “I think it’s important for us to play well on defense to help give ourselves opportunities on offense to get goals. Early in the year, we were a little too rag-tag in our play. Now we’re playing our best soccer.”