Loss to Plainfield Central yields no new discovery for Oswego
Panthers hope 2010 journey leads to rematch
By Steve Nemeth
Despite the Columbus Day backdrop for the Southwest Prairie Conference showdown between Plainfield Central and Oswego, Panther coach Travis Carlisle didn’t discover anything he didn’t already know about the Wildcats, who posted a 3-1 victory.
“They’re physical and they’re tall, so it’s no surprise they played to their strengths,” Carlisle said in recapping his team being denied the top slot in the league standings. “They’re so good on set pieces and that’s what they did today, they scored from set pieces.
"I certainly don’t feel bad about our performance. I thought we outplayed them in several phases. We out-passed them, we possessed the ball, we just need to be better in the final third of the field.”
Although Carlisle’s focus is on his crew’s Tuesday SPC and regular-season finale at Romeoville followed by a regional prelim home date with Plainfield East, the prospect of a rematch with the Wildcats won’t require any special game planning.
“There won’t be any adjustments needed,” Carlisle said in regard to a possible rematch.
Monday’s victory left Plainfield Central (18-4-0, 6-0-0) as the only unbeaten in the SPC guaranteeing that the Wildcats have at least a share of the title for a fifth consecutive campaign.
“Every year (a conference title) is our first goal and we build from there. We’ve got one more win necessary to get that goal,” said Tyler Gill referring to the Wildcats’ Tuesday finale with Plainfield North. “It is exhilarating to win in a close game where you’re required to play at a high level of effort and focus, and that’s what we did today.”
Plainfield Central got on the board just 1:55 before intermission when Josh Rosenbaum’s cross led to an eight-yard header inside the left post by Jon Rosenbaum.
“The Rosenbaums certainly come through when we need them,” Wildcats coach Kevin Fitzgerald said. “I haven’t seen too many teams with a better combination in back than those two and they give us a lot upfield as well.”
The Wildcats doubled their lead 5:42 into the second half when Jon Rosenbaum’s pass enabled John Hurley to finish a six-yard strike. However, Oswego (7-9-2, 5-1-0) needed just 2:12 to answer as Curtis Grysiewicz fed Adam Udy for an 11-yard score from the right side.
“We had a good counter a couple times and on that fastbreak, Curtis gave me a good ball and I just had to finish,” Udy said. “After that I think we tried to do too much individually. We still fought to the end, but we needed to be sharper. I’d like to have a rematch because we know their strengths and weaknesses and could prepare so much better.”
It would be hard to consider any of Luis Gallardo’s saves as being that much better than two particular stops in the second half which kept Oswego within a goal. Gill blasted a direct free kick with 14:17 left which Gallardo batted away and then snagged a Gil header out of the air with 7:43 still to play.
“Luis is a phenomenal goalie. It’s nice knowing we’ve got him and that his back-up (Ryan Totsch) is not much different. It’s great that they both have two more years, but circumstances (injury to senior Elliot Totsch) made it necessary for one of them to play in the field,” Carlisle added.
Plainfield Central was able to pick up an insurance tally with 2:43 to go when Nick Castellucci --- one of two JV squad pick-ups --- tracked down a loose ball for a nine-yarder from the left wing.
“This took a lot out of us today but we knew they’d be good,” Fitzgerald insisted. “We’ll probably play them (in regionals), but between them and Plainfield East, I’m not too sure I want to see either one.”
Despite not being mathematically eliminated from a title, Oswego senior tri-captain Nathan Kyes acknowledged the disappointment in the Panthers falling to the Wildcats.
“It feels pretty awful to be honest,” Kyes admitted. “Winning a conference title was definitely one of our team goals, but we take care of business in the (IHSA) first round, we’ll get another chance at them.”