Often in soccer, both teams put forth strong performances, yet a single play or sequence sends one of the squads home victorious.
Red Grange Field on Tuesday night was the site of one such game.
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Host Wheaton Warrenville South and Glenbard North presented solid performances. But with 27:57 left in the game, the Tigers' Max Carey connected solidly on a 25-yard free kick that went right into the far side of the net. And with that, WW South emerged with a 1-0 victory.
It's a busy time for the Tigers (8-6-1, 2-2 DuPage Valley Conference). They were playing their second game in as many nights after having tied visiting Batavia 1-1 on Monday. WW South travels to Romeoville on Thursday and then plays host to Lake Park on Saturday.
Tigers coach Guy Callipari said the tie against Batavia was a high-energy game, and most of Tuesday's contest was the same way. He said when a team gets into the heart of its schedule, depth is crucial.
"I don't think it was so much last night, but the numerous games we've been playing with just one day off between the last week and a half," Callipari said. "That was cause for concern. I was hoping to weather through early tonight and get some fresh legs in. When there's depth, you have flexibility and latitude."
Tim Reinders earned the shutout for the Tigers. He made 4 saves.
The Panthers (6-8-1, 1-3) had some good scoring chances, especially in the second half. Two examples came from Glenbard North's C.J. Koeller and Patrick Walen, who both fed perfectly-timed crossing passes to teammates, who were in perfect position but couldn't finish the deal.
Defensively, Glenbard North also performed well, especially after Carey's goal boosted the Tigers' energy level a notch. The Panthers collectively threw cold water on a few WW South breakaways in front of goalkeeper Eric Tenut (5saves).
"Our team stresses team defense, and when we play well defensively, it's as a team," said Panthers coach Gregg Koeller, who praised his team for its performance and said it's something that can be built upon. "We did pretty good. Their lone goal was off a dead ball. We didt pretty much what we wanted to, except obviously the score. It's a big step forward."