PALATINE – Like most girls soccer teams, St. Charles East optimistically lists the Class 3A state tournament at North Central College at the end of its schedule online.
The Saints would boast a formidable full-circle story should they still be playing June 1.
East navigated blowing snow early and trudged through slick, glistening artificial turf throughout Tuesday’s season-opening, 1-0 loss at Fremd. While the Saints created more chances than the Vikings and had a goal disallowed, they’re still liable to enjoy the recollection of this novel match down the road.
“It was a good experience,” East junior forward Shannon Rasmussen said. “We played well, kept the ball, played possession. I mean, we’ve all played in different conditions since we play all year-round. It’s Illinois, but it was cool. Definitely never this much snow.”
Fremd senior midfielder Michelle Mottonen provided the lone goal when she streaked down the left flank and snuck a shot past East keeper Kendra Sheehan with 15:50 to play.
The tally came about seven minutes after referees disallowed an apparent East goal, ruling the Saints had kicked the ball after sprawling Fremd keeper Christine Piasecki controlled a Rasmussen corner kick.
“I was thinking I’m probably not going to get another opportunity as open as this, so I’ve got to finish it,” Mottonen said. “I just tried to put it as accurately as I could.”
Piasecki survived an early surge of Saints chances that saw senior Amanda Hilton and junior Anna Corirosi provide plenty of first-half pressure from the midfield.
Given East’s attacking edge against a top opponent and overall lack of outdoor training time since spring practices started, Saints coach Paul Jennison bemoaned little but the final score.
“We kept connecting passes. We were all working hard. Getting behind the ball, winning 50-50s,” Rasmussen said. “We just couldn’t finish.”
Junior defender Morgan Settle had East’s final shot on goal in the final seconds, giving a pocket of layered fans one last hope.
East fan Judi Pottle, the mother of senior forward Carly, helped keep herself warm with a handful of halftime quips.
“We miss basketball,” she grinned, a nod to Carly’s recent run as a guard with the Saints girls basketball team, which ended its season just under a month ago.
Recalling whether Carly or older sister Rachel ever played soccer through flurries, Judi Pottle figured she had sat through everything but snow.
She added that Mother Nature couldn’t interfere with simply being a mom.
“We wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Pottle said.