BATAVIA – Zaira Solis brings a lot to the table.
"Energy," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said following Batavia's 1-0 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South on Wednesday. "I think that's the big thing and experience."
The game was called with 5:05 left in the second half due to lightning. Solis' goal with 12:51 left in the first half ended up being the deciding factor on a night where both sides benefited from numerous opportunities with the wind behind them.
Solis took a touch pass from teammate Anna Holcombe on a slight rush. Solis took care of the rest, striking it over the outstretched arm of Tigers goalie Abbie Brennan.
"The wind helped a lot," said Solis, a senior defender. "I knew going in the wind would be a benefit. I saw the left corner open...and it went in."
Solis, a Carthage recruit, juggles an active role as a defender while being asked to cover a lot of ground in the process.
"I've learned, as the games go on, to just time, play smart and know when to stay back," Solis said.
Batavia (10-1-2, 3-0) posted its ninth shutout victory of the season. It's a testament to a strong back line and goaltender combo that doesn't allow much to slip through the cracks. Hailey Flannagan and Aubrey Hahn combined for seven saves.
"Everybody knows their role," Solis said. "Nobody really slacks, and if they do, we're always on each other...we just want to make the season the best one, especially for the seniors."
WW South (6-3, 0-2) had a tough draw, playing on consecutive nights after a 2-1 loss to Downers Grove North on Tuesday.
The Tigers, however, had a pair of high-quality scoring chances in the second half.
First, a through-ball to Tigers mid Ellery Fahey was stonewalled by Kate Schoenfelder. Three minutes later, Fahey nearly connected again, but a Bulldogs defender helped make the initial save. Hahn cleaned up the rebound.
"It was going to be about anticipating what might be [available]," Tigers coach Guy Callipari said. "We got on the back end of one because we thought it might get through and there we [were]...it's really tough to anticipate when you have no legs left...it took a lot out of them yesterday."
Holcombe, an Indiana State recruit, had a golden chance while blazing ahead on a breakaway with 17:09 left, but it nicked the left post.
"I thought we did a good job kind of breaking out," Gianfrancesco said. "[We] had a couple opportunities that we could've finished."