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Article from 4-0 Loss to Lyons Township

posted May 4, 2014, 4:23 PM by Aaron Press

In a spring where poor weather has been the norm rather than the exception, the conditions for Thursday's Naperville Invitational contest between Lyons Township and Wheaton-Warrenville South set a new low.

Cold, windy, rainy – the setting for a match at Red Grange Field was hardly ideal. Then the visiting Lions emerbged from a 0-0 halftime, scored four goals and left the Tigers 0-3 in the tournament following a 4-0 victory.

For 40 minutes, the Tigers stayed with Lyons, and could have taken a seventh-minute lead when Alexis Jakuszewski sent a leading pass to Erin Madigan, who dragged a rolling shot just wide of the right post.

While Lyons had an edge in possession through the first half, the teams entered the second half tied 0-0.

That tie lasted nine minutes before Margaret Lynch scored on a rebound. Three minutes later, Erin Fitzgerald doubled Lyons' advantage and the Tigers struggled to make inroads the rest of the match.

“At the beginning of the second half, we had momentum going,” Tigers junior Nicole Molino said. “We had a good amount of possession. But then they got the one goal and we fell back and didn't bounce back as well.”

Lyons continued to pile on the pressure and added a third goal from a Sarah Drew penalty kick with 17 minutes left. The Lions completed the scoring with Grace Salvino scored with 12 minutes left.

“I don't know, I felt like we got our heads out of the game,” Tigers sophomore Sarah Burns said. “We were playing well in the first half. But then at halftime, sitting, your muscles tense up ans we got all out of our game.”

The Tigers moved players to the varsity against Lyons, giving Tigers coach Guy Callipari 22 players from which to choose – and all got into the match.

“Our objective was to get 22 players into the match, which we did in both halves,” Callipari said. “We brought up two from the junior-varsity team and two from the freshman team. We had five freshmen on the field at some times. Doing that against that kind of team and that size of team is a baptism by fire to some extent.”

The Tigers concluded play in the Naperville Invitational with a 1-1 tie against St. Viator on Saturday. Next is a Tuesday match at Naperville North, the latest 'must win' in Wheaton-Warrenville South's quest to become DuPage Valley Conference champions.

Lyons is a strong team – both in terms of results gained through the season and with regard to the physical strength of its team members.

“It's tough playing against a really good team like that,” Burns said. “Especially with the size of their players, it's tough to play with a team like ours.”

Throughout the match, the Tigers struggled to move Lyons' players off the ball. Over the course of 80 minutes, the visitors kept play in Wheaton-Warrenville South's defensive end.

“They had thicker girls than we did,” Molino said. “We had a smaller team. I don't think they were faster than us. They were more physical and bigger and that makes it hard.”

Lyons isn't the first physical team the Tigers have played this season, and Callipari said he expected that style of play from one of the state's perenially-strong programs.

“It was a good experience because they're going to be physical,” Callipari said. “They're going to use their arms and they're going to lean on you. You've got to play faster and support each other at angles where you can release the pressure.”

The Tigers have been very busy recently – first with the PepsiCo Challenge and then the Naperville Invitational. Saturday's match with St. Viator was the team's fourth of the week, and in preparation for that morning contest, Wheaton-Warrenville South took a break from practice on Friday.

“It's nice that (Callipari) does that for us every now and again,” Molino said. “We've been nursing a good amount of injuries on the team, so it's good to have a day off. (Callipari) says it's only natural to play one soccer game a week, It's unnatural to play three or four in a week.”

Callipari said his preference would be to avoid weeks with such a heavy workload.

“No one's doing it but us in high school in this country,” he said. “I don't know who came up with the equation that they could handle it. Soccer is more designed like football where you play once a week and then you get prepared for that, or maybe two. Pro teams playing two want a deep, deep roster. And we're playing four.”

After falling in the DVC opener, Wheaton-Warrenville South knew its chance to gain at least a share of the title depended on winning the remaining six matches. Victories over Naperville Central, Lake Park and Glenbard North have allowed Tuesday;s match to rise in importance.

“We have a chance at conference now and it's really exciting,” Burns said.