The Geneva girls soccer team has played 160 minutes against St. Charles East this season with zero goals to show for it.
A pair of Saints victories against the Vikings in the first week of April – one in Upstate Eight Conference River play, the other as part of East’s Rose Augsburg-Drach tournament – reinforce the seeding that makes East a favorite in today’s IHSA Class 3A Bartlett Regional final, but neither coach puts much credence in those early-spring matches.
Saints coach Paul Jennison called East’s wins against Geneva “irrelevant” at this stage of the postseason, and Geneva coach Megan Owens was only slightly less direct.
“I think we know what we did wrong the first time around,” Owens said. “We played them twice in one week in cold, cold weather and not the best field conditions. I think we know that it’s different this time around.
“We’ve changed a lot. We’ve grown a lot as a team.”
Much of that growth has come on the offensive end, where the Vikings have produced 36 goals during their current seven-match winning streak. The most recent of those wins was a 5-0 victory Tuesday against Bartlett in the regional semifinal at Streamwood’s Millennium Field.
“We struggled with [scoring] a little early on just because there were a bunch of new players in the mix but we’re really coming on and clicking when we need to be at the end of the season,” Owens said. “Hopefully, we can keep it up and make a run.”
The Saints, meanwhile, are coming off a 12-0 thrashing of Larkin in the match that preceded Geneva-Bartlett.
The winner of today’s showdown advances to face Batavia in Wednesday’s Hoffman Estates Sectional semifinal.
Daley scholarships awarded: The first Anna Daley Fighting Saints Memorial Scholarship awards were presented Wednesday night at St. Charles East’s Honors Night for the senior class.
Daley, a former Saints girls golfer who died of acute myeloid leukemia in May 2012, was part of East’s class of 2013.
Her classmates who received the awards Wednesday were Alex O’Brien – who was Daley’s boyfriend and supported her throughout her illness – along with several other close acquaintances, including Kayla Davis, Yash Bhatia, Jane Noelker, Rebecca McQuade and Alexis Cayton.
Each of the recipients received $1,500 in scholarship money toward their college educations.
Daley’s parents, Sean and Lisa, have worked with the school on the program, and East students were instrumental in fundraising efforts throughout the year. The program – which rewards students based on integrity, faith, leadership, academic excellence and the ability to transcend adversity to make a difference – is guaranteed to continue for at least a decade.
USA, USA: Cully Payne, the older brother of St. Charles North senior Quinten Payne, will take a visit to the University of South Alabama the first week of June, according to his father, Kent Payne.
Cully Payne, who played his high school basketball at Burlington Central and Schaumburg, is looking for his third college hoops landing spot after starting at Iowa and then transferring to Loyola. Payne played for the Ramblers last season before leaving the team with a year of eligibility remaining.
Cully Payne could be eligible to play elsewhere next season if he completes his communications degree from Loyola this summer. The family said earlier that he also was considering Western Michigan as a potential destination for his senior season.
Quinten Payne originally planned to join Cully at Loyola next year before being released from his letter of intent and opting for Ball State.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.