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updated: 9/4/2013 10:37 PM

West Aurora growing up fast, blanks Batavia

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

Junior Espino, Luis Gallegos, Juan Pablo Morales, Hugo Nunez and Jacob Sheldon had played very few minutes or didn't play at all last season for West Aurora.

Already, the five juniors are playing like experienced veterans as leaders of the back line for the Blackhawks.

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West Aurora pitched its second shutout in as many chances, blanking visiting Batavia, 1-0, on Wednesday in a nonconference match.

"Luis is playing sweeper back and he's never played it before and he's just one of many in a new position," Blackhawks coach Joe Sustersic said. "We're just a very young and inexperienced team. We're like a patchwork on defense but we got our second shutout in two games so I'm not going to complain."

Batavia (1-2-0) only allowed the Blackhawks a few scoring chances in the first half, but they were unable to deny a give-and-go from Steve Rivera and Michael Acosta which proved to be the lone goal and game-winner.

"We got some nice touches in the middle and then (Steve) sent it down to me down the sideline and I just hit it in the bottom corner," Acosta said. "It's the first left-footed one I've scored. It was good. This was a nice win."

West Aurora (1-0-1) proved unable to extend its lead, but rose to the occasion on defense whenever Batavia threatened with an equalizer.

In the first half, Batavia senior David Curnock had a brief opening but misfired with under four minutes left. Later, Ian Larson made a nifty play, stealing the ball from Gallegos from 20 yards out and then going one-on-one against West Aurora keeper Alex Guillen. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, his shot went right into Guillen's outstretched arms.

"It just got away from me on my final touch," Larson said. "I tried to poke it in and just didn't get under it as much as I wanted."

In the second half, once against Larson made a huge play, drawing a foul on Gallegos, which resulted in a penalty kick with 22:57 remaining. Kevin Collins took the kick, but sophomore keeper Robert Marquez, who was inserted into the lineup for the final 40 minutes, pounced on the attempt.

"They had been begging for it (a PK) all game, and it was a foul. He took him down from behind," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "I would have had Ian take it, most likely, but he didn't look like he was ready for it. It is what is though. It's a trying moment for any kid anyway."

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