The Riverside-Brookfield soccer team’s Magic Number was 1 entering this week. The Bulldogs needed one more victory to clinch the Metro Suburban Conference Championship.
Riverside-Brookfield (10-5-1, 6-1) was looking to “finish what it started” in terms of winning the conference with another clinch opportunity Tuesday (after deadline) against Timothy Christian.
The Bulldogs had an opportunity to secure the conference title on Oct. 1 against Illiana Christian; however, the match was suspended – tied at 2-2 in overtime – due to inclement weather. Riverside-Brookfield and Illiana Christian will resume action on Oct. 12.
The Bulldogs opened last week in impressive fashion with a 6-1 victory over Timothy Christian. Rubin Chavez, Tyler Polanski, Edvardo Marentes, Ismael Romo, Joseph Zyck and Brian Robertson all scored goals in the conference match-up.
“We played very well,” RB coach Danny Makaric said. “We led 2-1 at the half and then made some adjustments with our midfield positioning. We figured out their weak spot and blew them away by keeping the pressure on. The last 15 minutes we got some other players in the game and everybody played.”
The following day, Ridgewood dealt RB its first conference loss in a 2-1 decision. Chavez scored the Bulldogs’ lone goal.
“Our team came out flat,” Makaric said. “Ridgewood scored a couple of goals and we missed a lot of chances.”
While the Bulldogs fell victim to injuries earlier this season, most notably senior midfielder Rafi Romero (broken ankle-out for season), the team appears relatively healthy and playing well for the stretch run of the season. The team has outscored its opponents 24-13.
Senior defenders Jerry Brown and Tim Hannigan have provided leadership along with Romo and goalkeeper Mark Benya.
Talented underclassmen forwards Cagetano Chavez, Rubin Chavez and Marentes give the Bulldogs scoring punch and speed.
According to Makaric, the key for RB is consistency on the field.
“After we went on our long winning streak, we may have gotten a little complacent,” he said. “Every game is its own game. We have had some games where we play a good half and then a bad half. You have to play with consistency to be successful.”
Looking ahead to the postseason, the Bulldogs open the Class 2A playoffs hosting Lindblom on Oct. 21 (4 p.m.). With a victory, the Bulldogs advance to meet the winner of Marine Military Academy vs. St. Francis for the RB Regional title on Oct. 24 (1:15 p.m.).
Riverside-Brookfield is the No. 3 seed in the St. Francis Sectional of Class 2A. St. Joseph is the top seed, followed by No.2 Glenbard South, No. 3 RB, No. 4 Nazareth and No. 5 Chicago U-High in the 18-team sectional.
Last year, Little Village beat RB 2-1 on penalty kicks in a Class 2A regional final.
“Our goals before this season were to win our conference and win our regional,” Makaric said. “So far, we are doing well with a good chance to achieve these goals.”