GENEVA – No one on the Geneva girls soccer team knew that going into Saturday’s IHSA Class 3 regional championship match, the Vikings' opponent, Glenbard North, had given up only 15 goals this season.
The Vikings were surprised to hear that fact after the match as they put the ball into the net four times en route to a 4-2 win and their third regional title in a row.
Geneva advances to the Conant Sectional semifinal and will play Conant on Tuesday night after St. Charles East and St. Charles North square off in the first semifinal.
“No, I didn’t know that. You know it’s hard in Chicagoland soccer to keep tabs on teams that aren’t covered by the local newspapers,” responded Geneva coach Megan Owens when told about the Panthers’ total goals allowed. “They played a great game. They fought hard the whole game but my kids rose to the challenge.”
Also unaware was Geneva's Megan Fitz, who scored Geneva’s fourth goal midway through the second half.
“Oh no, actually I didn’t. We knew they were a good team and it would be a hard game so we just came in and played our best,” said the junior.
“Yeah. that’s the most goals we've given up all season,” said David Stanfield, Glenbard North’s coach. “We made some basic mistakes early on today that really cost us.”
Courtney Lardas started the scoring for the Vikings, knocking the ball in from in front of the goal on a pass from Michaela Loebel six minutes in.
Mary Landry had back-to-back strikes for Geneva (15-5-2) to improve its lead to 3-0 in the first half. She kicked in her first score with an assist by Hope Goodman with 17 minutes to play. Landry scored her second goal at the 11:26 mark. Panther goalkeeper Ariana DePinto blocked a shot that bounced back to Landry, who returned to the ball back to the net, and this time it got past DePinto.
“We created problems for ourselves but I felt when you are two down it’s not such a hill to climb,” Stanfield said. “But three down is tough.”
Glenbard North (14-7) cut the margin to 3-1 with nine minutes left before halftime. A throw-in by Glenbard North’s Ashley Pogue went over Geneva goalkeeper Sam Hauser's outstretched arms. The ball, which grazed Hauser’s fingers, landed behind her and gave Panther Amanda Biondo a shot at the unguarded goal.
In the first half, most of the action took place on the Panthers' side of the field. In the second half, play was balanced between the two teams.
“We started the second half well,” Stanfield said. “We were in a good spot and then we gave up the fourth goal and it was really hard after that.”
Fitz’s goal with 20:13 to play started with a free kick by Maggie Bodine.
“Taylor Williams flipped the ball back over to me and I lined up my feet,” Fitz said. “I just turned and shot it.”
Owens attributed Glenbard North’s step up in play to the weather and frequent substituting.
“The heat kicked in a little bit [in the second half]. We just had to grind it out,” Owens said.” I also got every kid in the game, which is awesome for every kid on a 22-man roster to be able to play minutes. At times, having a lot of subs on the field could have affected our play a little bit, but I think we played strong throughout.”
Sammy Aron scored Glenbard North’s second goal with 4:39 left to play.