ST. CHARLES – Geneva girls soccer goalkeeper Samantha Hauser missed three matches while recovering from mono, including the Vikings' only loss so far this season.
"At the very end I was just so ready to get back," Hauser said. "All my energy was back so I was just happy with that."
Her teammates are awfully glad Hauser is back, too, a point underscored Saturday. Hauser sparkled throughout Geneva's 1-0 victory against host St. Charles East as the Vikings won the Rose Augsburg Drach Invitational.
Hauser made several strong saves to keep the Saints at bay, including a pair of beauties on attempts from Darcy Cunningham, one of which on a breakaway from a sharp angle.
"I was pretty confident on the breakaway," said Hauser, who returned earlier this week for the start of the tournament. "The one off of Cunningham's [free kick], it went through a couple of their legs and I grabbed it, somehow I got on that ball, I'd say that was my No. 1 save."
Capitalizing on favorable first-half wind conditions, Geneva (5-1-1) scored with 12:43 to play in the opening half when junior Mary Landry scored on a rebound after East goalkeeper Kendra Sheehan made the first stop on a Courtney Lardas shot.
Landry said "me and Courtney, we have a history of working well together." It was the sixth goal of the season for Landry, one of the area's breakout performers this season.
Landry opted not to play club soccer during the offseason, which was a concern, but she's returned to the game invigorated.
"I didn't play during the club season so that was definitely hard," Landry said. "Coming back, I just knew that since I was gone for all that time, I knew I had to focus, just focus on my touch especially and keeping my head down on the shots."
Protecting a 1-0 lead and with the wind shifting to East's favor, Geneva coach Megan Owens opted to take a conservative approach for the second half and rely on her seasoned defense.
"We did play very defensive in the second half, which ended up working for us," Owens said. "But we switched our formation to make it more defensive just to kind of counteract the wind factor. But my girls worked hard. It was a battle."
East coach Paul Jennison credited Hauser's play while adamantly endorsing his team's performance.
"As far as I'm concerned, that's not a game we should be coming out of and losing," Jennison said. "I think that's a game we should be winning. I think the way you're meant to play soccer, we're playing the right way, and we're going to keep building on that."
Both East (4-1-2) and Geneva entered the final day of tournament play having won once and tied once earlier in the week.
The Augsburg Drach title was Geneva's first during Owens' tenure.
"They had a chance to make history," Owens said. "The seniors had that opportunity. It was in their hands, and they worked hard to get back into it after tying our first game of the tournament."