Boys soccer: Batavia, Geneva battle to scoreless draw
The boys soccer teams from Batavia and Geneva headed into Thursday night's match hoping to gain some much-needed momentum following somewhat slower than expected starts to their seasons.
While the momentum gained from the teams' 0-0 DuKane Conference tie during the annual Tri-City Night at St. Charles East might be minimal -- at least the arrow remains pointed in the right direction.
"It's better than a loss," said Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco, whose team is now 2-5-4 overall and 1-1-2 in the DKC. "I guess that is the way to look at it."
"I thought we were a little more composed," said Geneva coach Jason Bhatta. "We've been working on stuff and we're kind of halfway through it right now."
Despite playing with a strong wind at their backs, the Bulldogs didn't generate many scoring opportunities in the first half.
Perhaps their best chance came near the midway point when Adler Palos' free kick bounced off a Geneva defender and caromed off the post.
"Some teams just play that way," said Gianfrancesco. "You get the wind in the first half and you kind of feel comfortable. We just didn't make too many passes together or create many opportunities."
"We've got to take advantage of that (wind) when we have it," said Batavia senior Joe Grendzinski.
Late in the second half, Grendzinski had a pair of solid scoring chances, including a rebound of Eddie Torres' free kick that hit the top of the crossbar and bounced back on the field but away from any of his teammates.
"I thought it was good but it just didn't go our way," said Grendzinski. "It's just disappointing. It's frustrating because we played a hard game all the way through. You just have to finish your chances.
"When you don't finish your chances, it ends up 0-0."
Geneva's best chance came with 27:35 left in the second half when junior midfielder Joshua Eiss' point-blank shot was redirected by Batavia keeper Jacob Mefford (7 saves).
"I don't think we created as many chances as we'd like to but that's how soccer goes sometimes," said Bhatta. "We didn't take our chances when we had them."
Senior keeper Chris Morales recorded 4 saves for the Vikings (2-7-3, 0-1-3), who own a 2-1-3 mark over their last 6 games.
"After going 0-6 against some tough teams, the boys have shown some courage," said Bhatta. "We're young and inexperienced. We're just trying to get guys up to the pace of the game. Halfway through, we should be there and we're there more than we were at the beginning (of the year)."
The deadlock came on the heels of Batavia's 2-1 conference victory over Wheaton Warrenville South on Tuesday.
"It was a positive week for us and now we can look forward to next week," said Gianfrancesco.