Naperville Central expects big contributions from its captains.
Jay Tegge is one of them this fall, and the senior midfielder scored twice to lead the Redhawks to a 3-0 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South in Tuesday's DuPage Valley Conference match in Wheaton.
"We had a lot of guys moving forward all night, which really helps a lot," Tegge said. "A big part of getting this many chances is having the possessions, and by doing that we give our defenders a break so that even when we lose the ball, they are ready to be able to win it back for us."
Naperville Central (8-1-2) didn't lose the ball much as it controlled the contest from start to finish, despite only taking a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Tegge put the Redhawks ahead in the opening half, snagging possession of a Sean Flading throw-in, which caromed off a defender and ultimately settled where Tegge was able to deliver a net burial.
"We did a better job of finding chances, but still it was 1-0 and anyone's game," Redhawks coach Troy Adams said. "I'd guess we had significantly more shots, but those are the types of games that make you nervous as a coach because it only takes one and then, oops, it's a tie game."
Wheaton Warrenville South (3-7-2) was unable to counter with the equalizer, and the visitors were able to open things up in the second half on a Sam Reskala goal, the result of another throw-in, and then a Ben Border-assisted goal by Tegge with just less than 11 minutes remaining.
"We've been scoring all season," Adams said. "But we strive for perfection, and I bet if you asked the players they would say that they should've put three or four in the back of net."
Such insurance goals proved unnecessary, as the Redhawks didn't give the Tigers many opportunities, and even when they did, the young defensive unit of Flading, Derek Kerbs, Nick Coon and Mitch McGuire proved stingy.
"I think those guys are really starting to mesh well and have been a big part of it," Tegge said. "I'm really proud of them."
The Tigers are still struggling to find an identity. They have plenty of talent but have really had a difficult time in piecing it all together.
"We haven't figured how we want to play," Tigers coach Guy Callipari said. "We have kind of a mixed bag around the park and not a whole lot of continuity yet, so we're struggling with that."