Wildcats fight the elements and win big.

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Wildcats fight the elements and win big.

Senior Ryan Bogan kicks the ball past two thunderbolt defenders.

Senior Ryan Bogan kicks the ball past two thunderbolt defenders.

Matt Smith

Senior Ryan Bogan kicks the ball past two thunderbolt defenders.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Senior Ryan Bogan kicks the ball past two thunderbolt defenders.

Matt Smith, Staff Writer

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In pouring rain, the Wildcats (9-3) defeated the Andrew High School (7-5-4) Thunderbolts (Tinley Park), 3-0, in a non-conference home game on Saturday.

2015’s Illinois 3A state champions dominated the first half of the game, as they were up 2-0 at halftime. The Wildcats’ goals were scored by juniors Greg Krikorian on a cross from sophomore Evan Rasmussen and Ryan Wittenbrink, unassisted off of a steal.

With less than a minute to go in the first half, Wittenbrink received a yellow card and was taken out of the game. He was chasing a Thunderbolt for 30 yards before he  slide tackled him.

Wittenbrink was taken out of the game by his coach even though he didn’t have to be benched because of the yellow card.

“He’s got to be a smarter player,” said Coach Andy Bitta. “We talk about soccer IQ all the time, you have to have it.”

The Wildcats played the rest of the first half and most of the second half without their leading scorer, but the team continued to impress.

“They played real well,” said assistant coach Al Beard.

Libertyville continued its dominant performance in the second half, but many chances were there for the Wildcats that they couldn’t convert.

With Wittenbrink out, sophomore Evan Rasmussen and junior Riley Hoff had to fill in the big hole of leading the team and holding Andrew off from making a comeback. Senior goalie Brant Kym kept the Thunderbolts scoreless and the team’s captain, Ryan Gibbs, kept the team calm and focused.

“Boy, (Hoff and Rasmussen) played good,” expressed Bitta. “(Rasmussen) was very strong and quick, looked for his teammates, did a great job”.

When Wittenbrink was substituted back into the game, it didn’t take long for him to find the net again, as he put the Wildcats up 3-0.

With 10 minutes left in the game, the Wildcats took out their starters. The backups continued the strong play, as they had many scoring chances, led by seniors Ryan Bogan and Parker Noll.

The Wildcats fought through the rain and cold to win 3-0 as they looked like they had played when they won the state championship last November.

“We do nothing to prepare for playing in the rain. We just don’t cancel practice when it is raining” said Coach Bitta.

The next game for the Wildcats is Tuesday, as they look to continue their strong play at home, against Waukegan at 6:15 p.m.

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