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St. Francis girls soccer rallies to stay unbeaten

GLEN ELLYN – The St. Francis girls soccer team got its first taste of adversity Friday after winning its first five games by shutout.

Host Glenbard South capitalized on a rare error by St. Francis goalie Jenna DiTusa to grab an early lead, but the Spartans dominated the rest of the match to rally to win, 2-1.

The Raiders (1-5-2) took a 1-0 lead on the reigning Class 2A state champions in the third minute when Hailey Hawkins intercepted a clearing attempt by DiTusa and passed to  Michaela Miglio , whose 12-yard shot beat a lunging DiTusa.

“I waited too long to take the kick so it was totally my fault,” DiTusa said. “I take all the blame. That kind of goal happens to me like once every two years, so at least I got it out [of the way early in the] season, before conference, before playoffs, so we’re all good there.”

Some teams would have been unnerved by such a gaffe, but St. Francis coach Jim Winslow knew his star goalie, a four-year starter, would shake it off and the rest of the team would follow her lead.

“I thought [Glenbard South] played a great first 15 minutes,” Winslow said. “Jenna made that mistake and I told her, ‘No big deal,’ because I know 99 percent of the time that’s not going to happen. Then we scored to tie it up and then we got another one. We had three or four or five sitters that, if we put those away, this game isn’t as interesting.”

The Spartans (6-0), who are a game ahead of where they were at this time last year, tied it in the 19th minute when senior Sarah Rahman knocked in a cross from sophomore Corky Hart.

The visitors continued to pour on the pressure but missed three open shots and had two others thwarted by Raiders goalie Dana Jourdan.

But the Spartans broke through in the final seconds of the first half.

Jourdan made a tremendous diving save on Rahman’s shot from point-blank range, only to see sophomore Regan Kasprak bury the rebound for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Although the Spartans were unable to extend the lead, they were never threatened in the second half as the Raiders mustered only four shots and DiTusa had to make only one save.

“Our coach always tells us we kind of don’t come out from the start,” DiTusa said. “We kind of just wait until something dramatic happens, then actually start playing to our fullest.

“Sometimes we need that shock factor. We’re trying to work on playing like that throughout the game, but I’m so grateful that I have a team that will back me up and totally make up for my mistakes in that regard.”

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