WEST CHICAGO – The St. Charles East and West Chicago girls soccer teams faced a unique challenge when Wednesday’s 3A West Chicago Regional semifinal resumed.
The match began Tuesday, but a severe storm forced the game to be stopped and moved to the next day. Almost eight minutes had been played before the game was suspended.
Wednesday’s portion of the game started with a West Chicago corner kick that was successfully defended by the Saints.
After the unusual beginning to the game, the Saints scored first on a goal by junior Darcy Cunningham that settled the team en route to a 5-0 victory.
East (14-4-5) struck again swiftly as Amanda Hilton and Sophie Jendrzeczyk followed with goals. The Saints opened the scoring with 18:58 remaining before halftime and were ahead, 3-0, 5:45 later.
“We came out to win and we got the job done,” said Hilton, who added an assist and has 14 goals this season. “We put the ball away and kept the ball out of our net, got a shutout, and that was huge for us.”
The Saints will face Wheaton Warrenville South for the regional title at 5 p.m. Friday.
Hilton’s goal came off a rocket shot from the top of the box. The Saints then scored a third goal with 13:13 left in the half.
West Chicago (16-15) had pushed an attack through the middle of the field that was defended and quickly turned by the Saints. Midfielder Kelli Santo Paulo sent a pass to Jendrzeczyk, who scored to give East a 3-0 lead it carried into intermission.
Jendrzeczyk added another goal in the second half.
The strong play of the Saints' midfield was a big part of the team victory.
"Today our midfield did a great job of neutralizing (West Chicago’s offense),” East coach Paul Jennison said. “That was one of the reasons the back four was able to have more confidence.”
Even with the great efforts of West Chicago’s Kayla Kirkwood, the Wildcats were unable to score on the East defense. West Chicago coach Cesar Gomez took a positive outlook on the program moving forward.
“We are looking forward to next year; we lose only one player from that bunch,” Gomez said.
The Saints' final goal was scored by Claire Rasmussen and was assisted by the backup goalie Alison Chesterfield. Chesterfield boomed a goal kick to Rasmussen, who was able to elude a Wildcats defender and score, making it 5-0.