ST. CHARLES – St. Charles East made a late first-half goal stand up for a 1-0 victory over Geneva on Tuesday in Upstate Eight Conference River Division girls soccer action at Norris Stadium.
Allie Arvizu scored for the Saints on a header off a corner kick by Shannon Rasmussen with 6:09 left in the opening half. It came eight minutes after Arvizu had nearly scored on an almost identical corner kick by Rasmussen.
“I had one right before that, went off my head, barely missed, and I was so upset,” Arvizu said. “I was like, ‘You know what, next time it’s got to go in.’ I had to do this because we wanted this game for so long.”
Arvizu, a senior, said she couldn’t remember the last time the Saints (4-1, 2-0) had beaten the Vikings (3-2, 0-1).
“I couldn’t tell you,” she said. “Not since I’ve been here, that’s for sure. It’s been a long time. I don’t know if ever, to be honest, so it feels really good to beat them tonight.”
East coach Paul Jennison was just as happy with the win.
“This is massive,” he said. “Geneva’s quite a team, no doubt – always top five, top 10 in state. This is massive for us.”
In addition to scoring the only goal of the night, Arvizu also anchored a St. Charles East defense that limited Geneva to only a pair of shots on goal.
“We were just focused on shutting them down and not letting them turn, especially,” Arvizu said. “They have some fast girls up top, so we knew we couldn’t get caught up and have them get behind [us].”
One of those speedy forwards for the Vikings is senior Amanda Lulek. Geneva tried to free her up for some one-on-one scoring opportunities with some long balls, but the East defense was up to the challenge.
Lulek left the game with just more than 24 minutes left in the second half and did not return.
Geneva coach Megan Owens said the problem was just a leg cramp and Lulek is expected to be back in action when the Vikings return to East tonight to take part in the Augsburg-Drach Invite.
Without Lulek in the lineup, scoring chances for the Vikings in the second half – even with a substantial northwest wind at the backs – were few and far between.
Their last good opportunity came with 17 minutes remaining when senior forward Molly Axen was the recipient of a long free kick, but East junior keeper Kendra Sheehan turned her away.
Conversely, the Saints got a shot on goal from Carly Pottle in the opening minute of the contest and had plenty of other scoring chances, putting seven shots on goal in the first half alone.
“The girls had to come out and we had to take it to them,” Jennison said. “We couldn’t sit back and let Geneva dictate the play. I thought we played a fantastic game.”
Owens said her squad failed to match East’s intensity.
“They outworked us a little bit,” she said. “It was a very back-and-forth game. It wasn’t our best game, but we still gave them a good fight. … We had our opportunities. We were a little slow to pull the trigger, but it’s early in the season.”
The Vikings won’t have to wait long to get a shot at avenging the loss.
They meet the Saints again at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Augsburg-Drach finale.