The most prolific scorer in Naperville Central history wasted little time in setting the tone in Tuesday's DuPage Valley Conference boys soccer match at West Chicago.
Pat Flynn, who has scored more goals in a Naperville Central uniform than anyone else, scored just 57 seconds into the contest, and it proved to be all the Redhawks needed in a 2-0 victory.
"We wanted to get off to a quick start after letting one up in the first two minutes the last time," Flynn said. "I was wide open 6 yards out and just put it right in."
It was not the kind of start West Chicago (13-6-3, 3-3-1) needed.
"That was a great goal by him and we knew they would use their height to their advantage," West Chicago coach Jose Villa said. "We committed a foul there and paid. It didn't bring us down, but we played from behind for the next 79 minutes."
The Wildcats created their fair share of scoring chances to tally the equalizer the remainder of the first half but never fully delivered. In fact they controlled the pace for the final 39 minutes prior to intermission.
"This was probably the first game where we've been out-possessed, and they did a fantastic job of knocking the ball around and playing simple soccer," Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said. "Getting that early goal made it challenging in that we've been in that hole ourselves and had to chase, but we were able to settle down and play more patient on defense."
Naperville Central (16-1, 5-1) benefitted from a shift in wind direction and a steady rain, which played a huge factor in the second half. The Redhawks dominated possession for most of the second half, minimizing the West Chicago attack.
"It made it harder to control on the ground with a climate like this," Villa said. "But you have to respond to different situations and we didn't. Now we're looking to get ready for the playoffs."
Jack Patrick increased Naperville Central's lead to 2-0 with 33:53 left in the second half when he blasted a 25-yard shot.
"We talked at halftime about placement versus power and when he opened up his foot he struck it well," Adams said. "He didn't try to absolutely unload on it, but found a corner and put it in."