DeKALB – The DeKalb girls soccer team knew in order to beat Kaneland for the second time this season, they’d have to test Kaneland All-Area goalkeeper Jordan Ginther plenty of times.
As it turned out, Ginther had a relatively relaxing day, as Kaneland controlled the tempo for most of the scoreless game. The Barbs didn’t force her to make a save until nine minutes remained in the match.
“We knew that we had to get shots off with Ginther in goal. We just didn’t execute,” DeKalb forward Morgan Beaty said. “We came out slow and that’s something you can’t do, especially against a team like Kaneland.”
Neither goalkeeper was challenged much on the day.
In fact, the only legitimate chance of the first half came four minutes in when Kaneland junior Brittany Olson found the ball during a scramble in the box and deflected it toward the goal.
Ginther didn’t handle the ball until just more than three minutes remained in the half, when Ayslin Nachman was played through by Kayla Perkins and Ginther, a Purdue commit, was there to scoop up the pass.
“We came out flat in my opinion,” DeKalb coach Phil Rouse said. “The runs that we normally make, the 50-50 balls that we normally win, the accuracy, it just wasn’t there today, and sometimes you come out and play your best and you hope you can find it toward the end.”
Early in the second half, the Knights once again went on the offensive. Courtney Diddell knocked a shot just over the cross bar just five minutes in.
The Barbs (4-1-2, 3-0-1 NI Big 12 East) finally forced Ginther to work with nine minutes left, when Beaty took a shot off a cross from Kelli Cardine just outside the six-yard box. Ginther blocked to the shot, and defender Anne Marie Giese cleared away the rebound.
With more than three minutes remaining, Cardine had a hard shot from outside the box blocked by Kaneland freshman Sage Schlehofer. One minute later, Abby Hickey was through on goal, but Delaney Stryczek was there for a game-saving tackle.
After controlling play for most of the game, the Knights (5-4-2, 3-1-1) narrowly escaped with a tie.
“We were definitely more aggressive and we were going to the ball first,” Kaneland senior Brooke Harner said. “We were possessing with one-two touch, it was a quicker game and you could tell we wanted it.”
The Barbs are still undefeated in conference play, but Rouse thought his team could have been better.
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” Rouse said. “We put a lot of pressure on them in the last 10 minutes and [Ginther] made a tremendous save … We should’ve had more opportunities but we weren’t accurate enough today to run the style that we play. Sometimes you don’t play as well as you’d like.”