Boys soccer: Elgin blanks Bartlett 2-0 on slow pitch
Elgin is accustomed to playing at a fast pace on its artificial surface so a trip to Bartlett's grass field on Wednesday presented a challenge for the Maroons.
While the wet and muddy turf limited both teams at times, Elgin got a goal and an assist from Eduardo Nava to earn a 2-0 victory.
"The first thing we did before we got on the bus was I questioned the guys about the field conditions," Elgin coach Jimmy Romano said. "I got feedback from the coaches from the JV game and asked our guys what do we need to do to change how we're playing. I made them think. It wasn't just coming from me so we started brainstorming. I didn't want them to come in here and be shocked, so it was perfect. They responded well."
Bartlett (1-8-3, 0-2-1) seemingly lacked the fire it had during Monday's scoreless tie with Streamwood.
"Energy makes a huge difference and we had so much more energy on Monday and we had none today," Bartlett coach Anthony Glorioso said. "I don't know what it was. Maybe just a middle of the week game, but those little moments are what everyone feeds off and we had no energy to feed off. We were kind of dead."
Bartlett junior Adan Rueda acknowledged that while the rivalry with Streamwood naturally generates energy, Elgin being a strong team should have inspired the Hawks as well.
"We didn't want to lose to a rival like Streamwood," he said. "Elgin is a great team and it's simple mistakes that we're making that are costing us the game. We had some shots there, but we could've done better. We didn't perform as well as we wanted."
Junior Santiago Reyes misfired high in the 11th minute for the Hawks, as they created some early chances before they became seldom.
"It was ugly in many ways and the game was very slow because of the (field conditions)," Glorioso said. "We both play very quick and I think we kind of went off our typical game plan because of the grass and went long ball. They were doing the same thing and we gave up two unlucky transition goals. Little mistakes in transition are killers if we don't defend any of that."
Nava added to his career scoring numbers to give the Maroons a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
It would remain that way until Nava was dribbling forward and then crossed to a hard charging Adan Garcia who buried an insurance goal with just 8:19 left in the game.
"It was a pretty good ball to Eduardo who made a great pass for me to finish, which felt good," Garcia. "We knew we had to adapt and give our best no matter what."
Bartlett junior goalkeeper Adrian Mucha, who returned for the Streamwood game after being sidelined with an injury, denied a handful of shots to keep the Hawks within striking distance.
"It's good to have him back," Garcia said. "We need to put it all together and work as a team to finish games off. Our record doesn't define who we are. We've shown we can compete against any team, but we just need to have energy."
After back-to-back shutout losses to Naperville North and York earlier this month, the Maroons have now won three straight.
"This past week we had a whole week off where we could train and practice and work on things," Romano said. "Normally it's game, recovery day, game, recovery day, and that's tough. So this gave us a week to rest players and get our legs under us and have a training session which is good. We have West Chicago on Friday an then go to Iowa the following week, which will be high level."