Boys soccer: Rodriguez, Waubonsie play spoiler at Neuqua Valley
Yahir Rodriguez may only be a sophomore, but he already knows what it means to play in a Waubonsie Valley-Neuqua Valley match.
Rodriguez scored for the Warriors in the second half of Tuesday afternoon's DuPage Valley Conference game to break a tie and lift Waubonsie Valley to a 2-1 victory over the Wildcats in Naperville.
"Neuqua has always been a school I don't like losing to, so coming in here I told everybody I didn't want to lose so it feels very great to get the win," he said. "We were saying at halftime we could ruin their (Senior Night) and I mean, that's what we did."
Neuqua Valley (1-3, 0-2) honored seniors Blake Lewis, Declan Nugent, Tyler Madsen and Christopher Kesler during a halftime ceremony, but could not send them home with a victory.
"I think in the second half we just really got outplayed," Wildcats coach Arnoldo Gonzalez said. "It really comes down to that. That's what happens when you have spring break and you lose a week of soccer and it clearly showed. Obviously, the heart was there, the kids wanted it, but when you take a week off this is what happens."
Waubonsie Valley (2-5-1, 1-1-1) snapped a three-game losing streak and scored for the first time since March 16. The Warriors went up 1-0 with 25 minutes left in the first half when Alan Sanchez finished a through ball from Diego Carrillo.
"I went behind and (Diego) saw me for the run," Sanchez said. "I hit it with my left foot, my weak foot, and it went in. We had a lot of chances. I had one at the beginning that I choked it by myself and put it over the net, but I had to get more comfortable after that shot and needed to score one after that."
The Wildcats drew even at 1-1 when junior John Pochyly blasted a tremendous 45-yard shot with the wind that eluded Waubonsie Valley goalkeeper Bryan Grimaldo midway through the opening half.
"There are times where you take a shot and get unlucky and I think that was one of those goals," Grimaldo said. "He was lucky with the wind. The wind kind of pushed it off and it caught me off guard and went over me, but you know, sometimes you let a lucky goal go through. Give him props for that shot, it was well placed and he put it in."
While he wasn't happy that he surrendered the goal, Grimaldo was confident that his team would net the go-ahead goal with the wind at its back in the second half. He was right.
"Even in warmups I was telling my coach let's go against the wind in the first half because I know in the second half we're going to come out and attack and that's exactly what we did," he said. "We came out and scored another one and were able to get the lead."
Rodriguez's game-winner came on a cross from Aaron Griffith across the top of the penalty area with 22:02 left to play.
"I didn't think it was going to go in, but it went in.," Rodriguez said. "I saw that I hit it. It was going pretty slow and so the keeper didn't catch it and it went in."