Boys soccer: Metea Valley, Naperville Central draw in DVC
Growing up is hard to do, and so is winning in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Metea Valley and Naperville Central have battled in enough DVC contests over the years to accept that wins are extremely hard to come by in conference play. And while both had stellar efforts during Tuesday night's game in Naperville, they departed after earning a 1-1 tie.
"A tie was probably a fair one," Redhawks coach Troy Adams said. "It's the nature of this area. Teams are good. You play the DVC and you go back through it, and I have to say 90 percent of the games are going to be 1-0 and 1-1. They're going to be close."
Look at what happened last year -- they battled to a scoreless draw.
"Teams are well-coached, they're well-disciplined and the players care," Adams said. "You see kids dropping to the ground giving everything they had. Those are the types of games you want to be in as a player or a coach."
The Mustangs (3-1-3, 0-0-1) got their goal with 26:26 remaining in the first half when Alex Krehl fired a shot just inside the opposite post.
Not only did it give the Mustangs the spark it needed and an early advantage, but it was a huge boost for Krehl's self-confidence. He'd been frustrated with near misses this fall.
"I've had opportunities like that this season, but it's been really tough because I've not been finishing," he said. "So that goal for me was really big because I've been missing opportunities left and right."
Krehl's chance came to fruition after he dribbled down the sideline, taking a final touch on top of the 18 before sneaking his shot in the bottom corner of the far post.
Perhaps the work he put in on his own was the key?
"I was working on some things, not really with the team but by myself," he said. "I took some shots and was resetting my form to make sure I could get it right."
The Redhawks (5-1-2, 0-0-1) drew even with 30:43 left to play on simple tap from Roman Krupka off a header from Owen Jarrell.
"That was a great header to me from Owen and I just tapped it in really," Krupka said. "He did all the work."
The goal was an unfortunate bad break for the Mustangs. Starting goalkeeper Gandhi Cruz had just left the game due to an injury. He returned, but by then it was a 1-1 game.
"I didn't really want to come out but I felt a ton of pain," Cruz said. "He landed on my ankle in a bad way and I never had felt that kind of pain before."
Obviously, Krupka and the Redhawks were hoping for more, not ready to accept a tie with 30 minutes still to play, but that go-ahead goal just wouldn't arrive for either squad.
"I felt like we were going to get that second goal," he said. "I think we were pressing them good and dominating possession."
Scoring opportunities were exchanged the rest of the game, while the Mustangs' best chance was waved off due to a high kick foul in the second overtime while James Kim fired a shot off the left post shortly thereafter for the Redhawks.
"Oh, man, it was so close," Kim said. "The posts are ridiculous."
As is the DVC.
"It's tough," Metea Valley coach Josh Robinson said. "That's the DVC, though. It's always tough."