by Danny Tiffany 42Fifty Staff Writer
On April 19, Oswego opened up the Naperville Central Invite tournament. Each year, Oswego enters this tournament due to it’s great competition. In the opening game, Oswego was up against Sandburg High School. As Oswego players knew, the competition was going to be stiff.
In tournament play, a good start is always helpful. One loss doesn’t eliminate teams, but it certainly puts a lot of pressure on. Oswego and Sandburg started the game slow, the game was being played on turf which usually seems to make everyone faster. Both teams started rather timidly. Only five shots combined by both teams in the first 20 minutes of the game. Outside of shots, there really wasn’t any other glimmers of chances.
As the first half winded down, however, Oswego was able to sneak one by Sandburg goalkeeper from quite the distance. Oswego went up 1-0. Beside the fact that Oswego was leading, it was a huge goal. “To go into the halftime break with that momentum, we felt good” said senior Kaylee Zimbelmann. The Panthers couldn’t feel too good, because all it would take is one shot to tie it again. Sandburg took that shot, and very nearly ied it. Except that shot clanked off the post, inches from a tie game.
Good teams make their own luck sometimes and that appeared to be the case because just seconds after Sandburg hit iron, Oswego had numbers. Making no mistake, senior Riley Parker buried a wide open shot to put the Panthers ahead by two. Oswego was in full command. With time going down, the clock hit the 50 minute mark, Oswego held that 2-0 lead with 10 minutes to play.
“Once we got that second one, we knew we just had to be responsible with and without the ball” Zimbelmann again quoted. Oswego was locked in, after last year’s disappointing tournament, this served as motivation for the final minutes of game one of this tournament. The Panthers limited chances for the Sandburg team. Sandburg couldn’t muster many good scoring chances. Just 2 shots on goal for them in the final 10 minutes helped Oswego secure the shutout win and move to 1-0 in the tournament.
The Panthers will regroup, rest, and prepare for game 2 of the tournament, against host and powerhouse, Naperville Central. The Panthers, who showed great fight against Sandburg will need yet another gutsy performance today, but for now, will enjoy the 2-0 win.