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Girls Soccer: St. Charles East sophomore Hannah Miller starting to realize scoring potential

Miller, Emma Blankenship each score two goals in 7-1 win over Plainfield North

ST. CHARLES – Hannah Miller's high-octane scoring ability is starting to be realized.

Miller, a sophomore, scored three goals for St. Charles East last season. She's already matched that mark this year.

Miller scored two goals for the Saints in a 7-1 nonconference win over Plainfield North on Saturday.

"We saw the potential for her to play up top," Saints coach Vince DiNuzzo said. "She played a whole club season at left wing and right wing, played really well."

Miller has shifted from an outside-back role to forward this season – and is seeing the payoff.

"She's electric," DiNuzzo said.

The Saints controlled the action early on, scoring three goals within the first 10 minutes of the first half. Emma Blankenship headed in a penalty kick that initially slipped through Tigers goalie Hailey Traver's hands to get the Saints (3-1) rolling. Renee Unterberg and Miller followed suit with goals of their own to build the 3-0 lead.

Plainfield North (1-2-1) had its lone score came from Lindsey Dusatko following a cross feed from Jessie Gruben with 15:37 left in the first half. Saints junior forward Elle McCaslin responded with a goal before the end of the half to make it 4-1.

Blankenship and Miller added their respective second goals in the second half. Kayla Villa also scored. Grace Griffin had nine saves on the afternoon.

Miller weathered a preseason right hamstring injury, and missed just one game. It certainly didn't appear to be an issue on Saturday.

"I hated not being able to play and watch practices, but once I got the was good," Miller said.

Blankenship and Miller are a pair of bright sports for a St. Charles East team that is executing a different style of offensive play this season than previous years. Increased depth, the strength of the back line and overall athleticism is allowing DiNuzzo to implement a more aggressive offensive approach.

Last year, the Saints found themselves in several matches either winning or losing by a goal. The new style could give them a better chance at eliminating that.

"[We're] taking many more risks going forward, but it's just the players we have this year," DiNuzzo said. "We have a lot of trust in our back line and our our goalkeepers, so having that trust allows us to kind of push players forward and play with a little bit more with an attacking mentality."

Blankenship, in her second varsity season as a senior, will be an important piece moving forward for the Saints to achieve the consistency it searches for.

"Just keep working hard," Blankenship said. "Every game, come out hard 100 percent. I think that really showed [today]...just come out hard every single game to any opponent."

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