MAPLE PARK – In its first match of the season, the Kaneland girls soccer team was just trying to fill all the positions on the field.
A depleted roster – a situation made worse by a first-half injury – forced players into positions they hadn’t played before. Girls were rotating all over the field Tuesday, with coach Scott Parillo and his staff mixing and matching to find a suitable lineup.
To make matters worse, the bad weather of the early spring had kept the team confined to a gym until Monday. So with just one day of outdoor practice under their belts, the season opener against DeKalb awaited. Kaneland kept the contest close, but one goal was all it took for the visiting Barbs to grab a 1-0 victory.
“I thought they all played well,” Parillo said. “For as little amount of time as we have had outside, we did well. We had some girls at some positions they’d never played before. ... We had so many players at so many different positions, all we were doing was rotating them into different positions, so I’m not disappointed. I thought we played fine.”
The lone goal came less than five minutes into the second half, when DeKalb’s Rachel Butler passed the ball across the front of the goal to an awaiting Morgan Beaty, who shot a ball off the hand of Kaneland goalkeeper Jordan Ginther and into the net.
“Just a real nice read,” DeKalb coach Phil Rouse said. “We had a diagonal run and a diagonal ball. Any time you play diagonal balls into the box and your players are on the same page, you’re going to put yourself in a dangerous situation. It was a good first touch by the forward, and she put it on frame.”
The goal resulted from one of DeKalb’s few scoring chances in the first 15 minutes of the second half, which were controlled by the Knights.
It was the first time of the evening that Kaneland started putting balls into the box with consistency. Unfortunately, there was rarely a teammate to receive the passes. When the Barbs’ opportunity came, they capitalized.
“Obviously, I wish we wouldn’t have had that little mental block there where we didn’t pinch in and left that girl wide open,” Parillo said. “But we’ll build on it. We were missing a couple players and we had another one go down [Michelle Ortiz], so we were down to two subs.
“But we’re not going to make any excuses. They capitalized when they needed to, and unfortunately we didn’t. So that’s why they’ve got the win and we don’t. We’ll build on it. We’ve got plenty of time.”