Geneva, St. Charles East girls soccer settle for another tie

ST. CHARLES – The Saints-Vikings stalemate continues – at least for another week.

After tying both meetings last season, the Geneva and St. Charles East girls soccer teams settled nothing Wednesday night in the first round of East’s Rose Augsburg Drach tournament, landing in a 1-1 tie.

The Tri-Cities rivals will again seek to create a distinction Tuesday when they meet in Upstate Eight Conference River play.

“That’ll be the real one, in the conference,” East coach Paul Jennison said.

Geneva has been difficult to score upon this season, yielding only two goals through its first seven matches, and the Vikings (6-1-1) would have tacked on another shutout if not for an unorthodox play 10 minutes into the match.

Saints freshman Darcy Cunningham’s tenacity paid off when Geneva sophomore goalkeeper Catie Coghlan ventured well to the side of the net and mishandled the ball. Cunningham pounced, took a couple of dribbles for a better angle and exploited the empty net for a 1-0 East advantage.

“You’ve got to give the girl credit, she’s run 40 yards to chase the keeper down,” Jennison said. “For most kids, if the keeper has a bad touch, she cleans it up, but [Cunningham] is one of the hardest working kids we’ve got. There’s a reason she’s starting as a freshman, and that’s it, work rate, so fair credit to her. She did a good job getting up there and it’s one of those, when you work hard, good things happen.”

The Vikings answered midway through the first half when defender Annie Waldoch played a long ball toward fellow sophomore Hope Goodman. Goodman thought her left-footed shot was going to go wide, but a friendly carom off the far post turned into her second goal of the season.

“It was a little tough because it was bouncing and it’s a rocky surface,” Goodman said of settling the ball. “I just made sure I kept my head down.”

Geneva coach Megan Owens was delighted to see her team capitalize on one of the few prime scoring chances for either side during the evenly played match.

“That was a beautiful sequence,” Owens said. “Annie does a great job of playing up as a defender and getting lots of good, through balls diagonally across the field, and Hope just had a perfect shot.”

The Vikings’ conditioning appeared superior in the final minutes but Geneva was unable to force East goalkeeper Bailey Stengler into a great save. Vikings standout Catherine Allon’s header from close range sailed high with about four minutes to play.

Tournament play continues for both teams today and Saturday. Geneva faces Schaumburg tonight while East (5-2-1) battles Naperville Central before the teams switch opponents for the final day of round robin play Saturday.

The tournament opposition isn’t going to soften but Owens said it’s representative of what awaits her team as the heart of the season approaches.

“We have a tough three weeks,” Owens said. “You look at the number of teams we play over the next three weeks who are in the top 10 in the state – welcome to varsity, kids.

“We have a tough run. We have a very tough schedule because it pays off in the long-run. We’ve had a strong start but now the big dogs are here. We’ve just got to be able to create shots, not look for that perfect shot. Put the ball in between the posts inside the 18.”

Next Tuesday’s East-Geneva rematch will be in Geneva.