Boys soccer: Oswego battles Naperville Central to 2OT, drops sectional semifinal

Redhawks score minute into first OT, beat Panthers 1-0

Oswego’s Ryan Walsh knocks down Naperville Central’s Eric Sonnenschein in the Class 3A Plainfield North High School boys soccer sectional semifinal game in Plainfield on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

Led by seniors Ben Sobecki, Ryan Walsh and Jack Wentzell, defense has paid off for the Oswego soccer team this fall, winning the Panthers a regional and bringing them to Plainfield for Wednesday’s match against Naperville Central in a Class 3A Plainfield North Sectional semifinal.

Once again, the trio was on their game, frustrating the Redhawks for 80 minutes before surrendering a goal in the first overtime and dropping a hard fought 1-0 game in double overtime.

“I told my players whoever scored one goal was going to win the game,” Panthers coach Gaspar Arias said. “It happened. That’s the way it goes.”

Patrick Bohan, who was battling hip injuries this fall and rested before the post-season, delivered the big blow just 51 seconds into the overtime.

“They were able to defend us all game so we had to take advantage,” he said. “We had been shooting all game so we were lucky to have one fall.”

Oswego (17-7-3) had some chances throughout the game, as did the Redhawks, but neither would deliver the ball to the back of the net until Bohan did.

“We knew the game they were bringing and for us,” Arias said. “We are a possession team and like to put the ball on the ground and combine, but games with long balls it’s very hard. At one point they are going to get one. They’re a great team. We were with them all the way until the end, and we talked about being ready and not letting them shoot. We didn’t step to that one and unfortunately that one went in.”

Naperville Central’s Alex Poole and Oswego’s Ryan Walsh compete for the ball in the Class 3A Plainfield North High School boys soccer sectional semifinal game in Plainfield on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

The Panthers and Redhawks battled for 80 minutes and settled for a 2-2 tie when they played two months ago. No one could’ve predicted that they’d be playing to advance for a sectional final 61 days later.

“Most of the teams that get to this stage of the playoffs are really good in the attack or really organized and tough to break down,” Redhawks coach Troy Adams said. “I think Oswego is a case of being really organized and tough to break down. They’ve got some really good defensive players that are hard to beat 1 on 1 and they help get their defense organized. So we played with some different match-ups trying to find the advantage, but to Oswego’s credit they did a really good job to keep stuff in front of them and make us work for it.”

As much as this loss stings right now for the Panthers, it takes nothing away from the fantastic season, although the reality is you have to score to win. The Panthers didn’t score in any of their losses this season.

“I told them they should be proud of whatever they’ve done,” Arias said. “We had a great season and got to play against Naperville Central and take them to overtime. It was like an even game. We had some chances, they had some chances and whoever put it in at the end won the game.”

The Panthers received great contributions from their senior class this fall and undoubtedly wouldn’t still be playing this late into the fall without them.

“The 12 seniors were a big part of the success, especially our center backs (Walsh and Sobecki) and Jack (Wentzell) on the outside,” Arias said. “So we are going to lose some really good seniors in the back. Thanks to all the seniors. They’ve been a big part of what we did this season. We are going to miss them next year.”

Naperville Central (11-5-7) snapped Oswego’s five-game winning streak while advancing to Saturday’s championship against Naperville North. It will be the third time the teams have played this season. The Huskies (20-1-3) won the first time, 5-0, while the teams tied 1-1 when they last played on Sept. 19.