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Game story: Late Waubonsie Valley goal leaves Marmion fit to be tied

By Bobby Narang, 09/01/23, 6:30PM CDT


Late Ladd goal, sparkling keeper Tiburcio keep Marmion at bay in Aurora Cup match

AURORA – Waubonsie Valley senior goalie Abrahm Tiburcio finally got a chance to enjoy the warm weather Thursday.

After sweating out a frenetic, non-stop, shot-filled 80 minutes between the pipes against talented Marmion, Tiburcio whipped off his orange jersey top to soak in a few rays before the sun disappeared for the rest of the day.

After all, Tiburcio, a three-year varsity player, deserved the break after an outstanding effort that included 14 saves in a 2-2 draw against the Cadets, who are ranked 22nd in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25.

On the other end of the field, Marmion goalie Adam Ozsvath, who helped his backline throughout the tense match with his constant communication, compiled just four saves.

Though smiling, he had a mixed bag of emotions on his performance.

“I feel great, had a couple of really good saves,” Tiburcio said. “I gave up a few goals. I felt I played well, and my defense played great. I just did my job. It’s a learning experience. I feel every time I’m on the field, I learn with the team and something I can take from it. I feel very confident in my senior year. I practiced throughout the preseason.”

Tiburcio should feel confident in his game, especially after grabbing save after save after save to earn numerous rounds of applause from the large crowd. Tiburcio rarely got a second to take an easy breath in the Aurora Cup match played in glorious, sun-splashed, late-afternoon conditions. Things got busy, especially in the second half, when he racked up nine saves iand the talented Cadets scoreless for 48 minutes.

Marmion’s uber-talented junior forward Giovanni Magana spent most of the afternoon sending shots toward Tiburcio and set the tone for a long game for the Warriors’ keeper and his strong and physical backline. Tiburcio dove to his left to snare a hard-hit shot by Magana for an impressive save in the 19th minute. He added a jump save late in the half.

In the final 40 minutes, Tiburcio kept the Cadets at bay despite an onslaught of early shots before Magana scored his team’s first goal to knot the game at 1-1 with 31:14 left in regulation. Seconds before the goal, Tiburcio had a solid save off a header.

“They were pressing us high, and I was able to get a good save, but they were pressing hard and were able to get another shot on me,” Tiburcio said of Marmion’s first goal.

Magana found a clean look.

“I saw a gap through the defense and tried to get it top of the box,” Magana said. “We have to finish better and keep on trying and get better. The goals will come. I think we have a lot of potential. We have a lot of people coming back from last year. We can have a good run.”

The goal, however, only tied Waubonsie Valley. The Warriors got on the scoreboard first on junior Amiel Nichani’s goal in the 48th minute. Wearing eye-catching yellow shoes, Nichani took a pass from Erick Maravillo and dribbled for several yards, outrunning a Marmion defender to knock in a shot from 15 yards for the 1-0 lead. For Nichani, it was his third goal of the young season, and second one using his left boot. On Aug. 25 at Oswego East on a blistering afternoon, Nichani, a right-footed player, also scored a goal with his weaker foot.

“I guess it’s left-footed again, so I guess that’s how it is this year for me scoring” Nichani said. “Erick played me a beautiful ball. I knew I was faster than their guy, so I slotted it into between the (keeper’s) legs. It was an open shot.”

Nichani said the draw was frustrating but the Warriors (2-1-1) have shown in games against Benet, Oswego East, Plainfield North and Marmion that they are not to be trifled with. Their solid play landed them in the Top 25’s honorable mention group.

“We’re really trying to make a statement in these games, just to show we’re not the underdogs anymore,” he said. “We’re trying to make a statement for all these teams.”

The Cadets (1-0-2) answered with another goal with 18:17 remaining in the game, when sophomore Jordan Peinado notched his first goal of the season. He took a pass near the sideline. Utilizing his speed while cutting into the middle of the field, he drilled home his shot a 2-1 lead.

“The ball came out, and I got the ball in the air,” Peinado said. “I saw a clear space and just took off and saw the back post of the goal and shot it. Next thing I knew, I was celebrating. I just tried to run fast and make their backline make a mistake.

“It’s frustrating to have a game like this, but we have to learn and move on from this. We’re going to learn from this and have to move on as a team. I wish we would’ve won.”

Waubonsie Valley junior Lachlan Ladd nearly tied the game up with two shots within a 55-second span a few minutes after Peinado’s goal but both came up empty. With 1:51 left, Ladd picked a good time to notch his first goal of the season, drilling a shot from 22 yards that deflected off a player and ricocheted into the far corner for the 2-2 final score.

“I just got into some space and got a shot open and just hit, getting lucky with a deflection,” Ladd said. “This just shows that if you don’t give up, you can comeback from anything and get the result. We wanted a win, but to come back from that (deficit) and get a tie is a lot. This shows we’re willing to fight for each other. We don’t give up even if we’re down, we still have a chance.”

Ladd savored scoring his first goal, mainly due to helping his team avoid a defeat.

“I had a couple of shots off earlier, so it’s good to see one finally go in. I’ve been creating chances, so it feels good to finish,” Ladd said. “I know I was creating chances and was helping to facilitate chances for us all game.”

Waubonsie Valley coach Jose Garcia said his team has displayed a lot of resiliencies early this season.

“(Marmion) is very talented and looking very good right now,” Garcia said. “I know they are missing two players also, so that’s a factor. But those players who came in for them did a great job. 

“I think my players did a great job also. They rose to the occasion and got the 2-2 tie. We had opportunities and probably could’ve had two or three more goals, but it’s tough when you have that pressure on you.”

The Warriors’ backline of senior Beckett Stotlar, freshman Evan Wojtowich and juniors Cade Valek and Jonah Greifenkamp were a tough group throughout the match. Marmion’s abundance of skilled players and depth tested the Warriors backline, but their combination of youth, size and height kept the Cadets to two goals.

“They are pretty solid,” Garcia said of his backline. “They got great control of the ball and very technical and good in the air. They have pretty much everything we need to be successful back there. I’m happy with our play.

“It’s one of those things where we are still trying to figure things out. It’s continually a process. We’re going to take it game by game and see how the team develops. 

“I was pleased with our effort and grit. They both were there today. Our freshmen really picked it up, from Lucas on the outside and Evan, we can’t take him out. He’s our star right back. 

“(Freshman) Rihaan (Gupta) came in and gave us a couple of good minutes, so those freshmen did a really good job against a tough and talented team. They really held their own.”

Marmion coach Geraldo Alvarez didn’t want to make any excuses for his team’s play, rather focusing on his players who were able to play.

“We had enough guys here to win the game, just let it slip away,” he said. “We didn’t finish. We should’ve put the game away a lot sooner, not put ourselves in a situation where the deflection of a goal ties the game. It should’ve been out of reach. Hats off to them. They play hard. Teams that they’ve played have had a difficult time scoring. They have a lot of talented guys back there.

“(Waubonsie’s) backline is good. We tried to expose the wide areas. We created enough chances to finish the game, but unfortunately we didn’t finish them.”

Starting lineups

Waubonsie Valley
GK: Abrahm Tiburcio
D: Beckett Stotlar
D: Jonah Greifenkamp
D: Evan Wojtowich
D: Cade Valek
MF: Aryaman Patodia
MF: Erick Maravillo
MF: Ricardo Uriostegui
MF: Cole Ondrejcak
F: Amiel Nichani
F: Lachlan Ladd

Marmion Academy
GK: Adam Ozsvath
D: Jordan Peinado
D: Mactzil Uriel-Lopez
D: Emilo Arizaga
D: Jamin Berman
MF: Emilio Morones
MF: Mauro Alanis
MF: Diego Tellez
MF: Alvaro Alanis
F: Beckham Cournaya
F: Giovanni Magana

Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match: Abrahm Tiburcio, sr., GK, Waubonsie Valley

Scoring summary

First half
No scoring

Second half
Waubonsie Valley: Nichani (Maravillo), 48’
Marmion: Magana (Alvarez), 49’
Marmion: Peinado (unassisted), 62’
Waubonsie Valley: Ladd (unassisted), 78’