(Sugar Grove, IL.) – Only one word could describe the playing conditions for Waubonsee Community College's Region IV Division I Tournament opener against Oakton Community College. That word is miserable. When all was said and done, it was the Chiefs who were left feeling even worse. The third-seeded Chiefs made a valiant comeback with three goals late in regulation only to fall to the sixth-seeded Owls 4-3 in overtime. Waubonsee ends its season with a 13-3-1 overall record.
The Chiefs and Owls took to the pitch in sunny, but blustery conditions with wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour and steadily plummeting temperatures. By the time it was all over the teams had endured rain and sleet, which turned into heavy falling snow. Midway through the second period play was halted when lightning was detected nearby in the area. During the 30-minute delay the winds raged even more and heavy snows limited visibility to less than a quarter of a mile.
Prior to that Oakton (12-6) had utilized having the northern wind at their back in the first half, taking full advantage to score twice and grab a commanding 2-0 lead. The match stayed that way until the lightning delay midway through the second half. The teams then retook the soggy and cold field with light snow still falling. A few minutes later Oakton caught Waubonsee over playing on the offensive end and the Owls' tacked on a breakaway goal in the 70th minute. Facing a 3-0 deficit with Oakton packing 10 players in the box defensively, the Chiefs quickly responded and put together a sensational rally.
Jose Alfaro scored on a penalty kick with 18:25 remaining to get Waubonsee on the scoreboard. Edgar Esquivel Lopez then drilled a shot past a diving Kenner Garcia and into the left corner from 20 yards outs to get the Chiefs within one goal with 14:36 to go. Not long after that Alfaro got loose on a breakaway and beat Garcia with a left-footed shot to tie the match with 10:38 left. Alfaro's 13th goal of the season stunned the Owls who had limited Waubonsee to only half a dozen shots all match to that point.
The Chiefs had several solid opportunities to win it in regulation with the demoralized Owls back on their heels. However, in the final minutes Oakton turned the Chiefs away each time to send the game into overtime. Oakton won the coin toss to begin the extra time and not surprisingly elected to have the wind at their backs just as they had in the first half. Both teams had a couple of opportunities to score before the Owls' All-American candidate Bukola Abdulwahab was able to break free. The sophomore poked in his third goal on the day and 23rd of the season for the game-winner with 2:26 left in overtime.