HOFFMAN ESTATES – Geneva junior Maggie Bodine had a grand total of zero goals on the season entering Tuesday’s IHSA Class 3A Hoffman Estates Sectional semifinal against Batavia.
Then again, Bodine hadn’t really been in position to show her offensive skill.
Coach Megan Owens’ late-season move of Bodine from defense to outside midfielder pocketed Bodine a pair of first-half goals as Geneva owned the early stages of its 4-2 win against Batavia.
Owens called Bodine “kind of our utility player.”
“Sometimes when you’re in the back or you’re in charge of man-marking somebody you don’t always get the attention or the accolades that you deserve,” Owens said. “It was her time to shine today. We’re real happy for her.”
Geneva advances to Friday’s sectional championship match against St. Charles North, which ousted the Vikings in a sectional semifinal last season.
While Bodine’s newfound goal-scoring prowess was striking, the Vikings collectively steamrolled their archrival from the outset in Tuesday’s second semifinal.
Geneva led, 3-0, at halftime, and matters could have been even worse for Batavia. Senior Amanda Lulek scored the Vikings’ first goal, and nearly had two more as she hit the post once, and Batavia defender Emily Stanczak made an emergency clear on another Lulek would-be score.
Reality was discouraging enough for the third-seeded Bulldogs, who saw Bodine deposit the seventh-seeded Vikings’ second and third goals before halftime. Her finish of a crisp passing sequence involving Lulek and Molly Axen made it 3-0 Geneva with 5:53 left in the first half.
That picturesque goal underscored how far the Vikings have come offensively.
“It was just so pretty and there was just so much teamwork involved,” Owens said. “Just a lot of people playing selfless and playing smart and finding the open player. Our offense has really come a long way and made a lot of strides. Now we’ve got a lot more offensive threats.”
The Vikings played arguably their most impressive soccer of the season in the first half, for which Bodine offered a simple explanation.
“Just teamwork,” Bodine said. “We knew how they played, and so we knew we had to get it to the outside and just get keep passing the ball. We have speed up top so we just kept hitting it over them and running onto it.”
Any notion of a Bulldogs uprising in the second half was dispelled 17 seconds in to the half when Axen’s header eluded Bulldogs goalkeeper Jenny Welday for a 4-0 Vikings lead.
The win was the ninth in a row for Geneva (15-8-1), which won in decidedly less nerve-racking fashion than in Saturday’s regional final, a penalty-kick shootout triumph over St. Charles East.
Batavia (13-5-3) scored a pair of goals less than three minutes apart in the second half as Anna Zeyen and Lexi Slome injected life into the match. But by then, Geneva only had to preserve its lead for the final 11:30 to close the deal.
The Bulldogs tied Geneva, 1-all, during the regular season, but were unable to replicate that performance.
“They were more assertive in the 18-yard box, and we just struggled with that, especially in the first 10 minutes,” said Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco, whose personnel choices were partially dictated by some players missing practice Monday because of the school’s “senior ditch day.”
Geneva will now take aim at its third straight Tri-Cities rival of the postseason. The sectional final berth is the Vikings’ first since Owens’ debut season at Geneva five years ago.
“We were given the 7 seed, and now we’ve knocked off the 2 and the 3 seed,” Owens said. “I think my kids, you know, it’s the postseason, but also they were playing a little bit for respect. They’re just playing real well.
“We got everybody in the game in a sectional semifinal, which is pretty tough to do. It was just a good team victory.”