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updated: 10/22/2013 10:55 PM

Waubonsie Valley holds on against West Aurora

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

Many believe that a 2-0 lead in soccer is more risky than a 1-0 lead for the team that's ahead.

While the subject is certainly open for debate, Waubonsie Valley found itself on the positive side of a 2-0 game but nearly let the contest get away on Tuesday.

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Fortunately for the Warriors -- after they surrendered a pair of goals to West Aurora -- they were able to answer with the game-winner midway through the second half to edge West Aurora 3-2 in a Class 3A Waubonsie Valley regional semifinal in Aurora.

"A 2-0 lead is probably the most dangerous lead you can possibly have, and we thought we were playing good enough to build on that lead," Warriors coach Angelo DiBernardo said. "If we would've done that I don't think it would've become the battle that it became."

Waubonsie Valley (8-7-2) came out firing on all cylinders and snagged momentum early on a Drew Valek goal. Valek wasn't finished though as he would find the back of the net again to put the Warriors ahead 2-0.

West Aurora (11-7-3) didn't have much to cheer about in the first half, but that all changed in the final half minute of the first half when Oscar Gaytan cut the Warriors' lead in half.

Suddenly, momentum was with the Blackhawks.

"Giving up a goal with 27 seconds left in the first half is asking for trouble," DiBernardo said. "That's a letdown you can't have. If we take care of business it's a 2-0 lead and a whole different ballgame. We gave them life they didn't have and created our own problems tonight."

It was Gaytan who once again came up big for the Blackhawks, helping them knot the match at 2-2 with his assist with 31:00 left in the second half. Gaytan fed the ball to Steve Rivera who buried it.

"I liked the way out kids came back and battled," Blackhawks coach Joe Sustersic said. "Oscar Gaytan right before halftime and then Stevie Rivera to tie it and I thought we had a few more chances too."

The teams exchanged possessions for the majority of the first 20 minutes of the second half, before Noah Griffith delivered the game winner with 21:35 left.

"It was a nice free kick from Noah," DiBernardo said. "Noah took a good kick around the wall and the keeper got a hand on it, but I thought it was a pretty decent shot. A tough one to stop."

It was a tough ending for a West Aurora team, one which had won 7 of its last 8 contests heading into the postseason.

"Unfortunately only one team gets to win their last game when it really counts," Sustersic said. "It'll be sad to see the seniors go, but every team loses players here or there or loses a class."

The Warriors advance to take on Batavia in Saturday's championship contest at 3 p.m. The teams met on the same field with the same on the line in 2011 and the Bulldogs prevailed, 2-1. The Warriors haven't won a regional title since 2005.

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