Boys soccer: Kahley's goal lifts Batavia over Wheaton North
Ryan Kahley was just hanging around late on Tuesday night at Batavia but his positioning near the back post served a purpose.
Kahley, a senior, sprung into action when he saw Brody Seitzinger's long free kick heading his way and he got a head on it, depositing it into the back of the net to lift the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory in their home and DuKane Conference opener.
"I hang around near the back post because the ball tends to drop through the middle and no one touches it," he said. "The ball came through and no one touched it so I just did anything and everything I could to make sure it hit the back of the net."
Wheaton North (4-2-1, 0-1-0), which was coming off Saturday's championship game loss to York in the Hillner Classic, hurt itself by a lack of communication.
"Somehow their back post runner (Kahley) was completely unmarked and in typical us fashion we kind of looked at each other with our hands in the air," Falcons coach Rob Stassen said. "It's simply communication stuff and the back line has been solid with communication."
Batavia (4-2-0, 1-0-0) wasn't getting too many scoring opportunities after jumping ahead 1-0 in the first half, but kept working on its attack.
"It wasn't so much frustration as it was we knew we were getting close," Kahley said. "Their back line was pretty solid so they kept us 20-25 yards away sometimes and taking shots from there, it's difficult to make it from there."
With thoughts of a 6-0 loss in the spring to the Falcons still fresh in his head, Batavia senior Manasas Monarrez scored with 28:49 left in the opening half, pouncing on an opportunity from fellow senior Josh Denault.
"A really nice through ball from my striker (Denault) and I saw the chance," Monarrez said. "I saw the goalie come out and I got a little scared, but stayed composed. I got a flashback to our first game last year when they slaughtered us so it was really nice to have an edge on them."
The Falcons drew even exactly four minutes into the second half. With the team struggling to play a two-touch style game, Stassen moved Max Ricelli from center mid to up top where senior Noah Froebe and sophomore Carter Evan collaborated to get the ball up to Ricelli. While his shot was denied, he stuck with it, collected the rebound and buried it.
"We normally play a two-touch game and unfortunately to have a two-touch game you've got to have a one-touch and our first touch was not there all day," Stassen said. "So it's one of those frustrating ones, but to a good team. Batavia played well and we didn't, so the result matches."
The Bulldogs are feeling good about the way they're playing after coming off a pair of wins in the Morton Tournament over the weekend.
"We're super encouraged," Kahley said. "Getting two big wins, convincing wins in the tournament was super inspiring and everyone on the team was super confident and just has a boost of self-esteem coming out here for the regular season."
The victory was the Bulldogs' first over the Falcons in the DuKane.
"We're going to be pretty confident going into the conference after this game," Seitzinger said. "These guys were a top contender this year so this is a pretty good starting game."