Big-time players often make the biggest plays and Batavia junior Ian Larson has been involved some of the biggest ones this fall for the Bulldogs.
Larson again delivered a game-winner in Tuesday's contest against St. Charles North in the 8th Annual Tri-Cities Showcase at Geneva's Burgess Field.
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Larson scored early in the first half and the Bulldogs held the North Stars scoreless to notch the 1-0 shutout.
It marked the fifth time this season that the Bulldogs have been on the positive side of a 1-0 final and Larson has scored the lone goal in three of contests, all which were against Upstate Eight River opponents (Streamwood, Geneva and now St. Charles North).
Senior midfielder Brendan Allen was able to win the ball and play it up quickly to create the opportunity for Larson.
"That's the way (Larson's) been all season," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "Flip it back to the left foot and he gets a nice angle on it, and the power he puts on it is pretty good, and it usually goes in."
Nick Foster and John Faraone combined on the shutout in goal, behind a strong effort from Batavia's midfielders and defenders.
"I think they communicate well out of the back and tightened up," Gianfrancesco said. "They did that at Larkin when it was 1-0 at their place, so they've done that a couple of games and kind of managed the situation and it's worked out."
St. Charles North (2-8-2, 0-1-1) nearly scored in the first half as freshman Ryan Olson's shot attempt clanked off the crossbar. They would create a few other chances including attempts from Logan Dunne and Adam Hoffman, but the equalizer never materialized.
"I think we got a few chances, but I'd liked to see us at least put it on frame and make the keeper make the save," North Stars coach Eric Willson said. "Ultimately we just continue to force the issue offensively and when we're calm and composed, and move the ball from side to side, I think we were able to create a few things."
Batavia (10-2-2, 5-1-0), which was coming off a 3-0 victory against Wheaton Warrenville South on Monday, allowed the North Stars to hover within striking distance. Larson had a booming 35-yard shot attempt that sliced just right with a little more than seven minutes remaining and Jeff Lorden's nifty no-look heel attempt with four minutes left was denied.
"We did a nice job of creating those chances, but wish we put more away," Gianfrancesco said. "It would've made the match easier for us."