It is still some months from Bastille Day, but a certain spirit of the French Revolution reigned on Wednesday as fleur-de-lis adorned St. Charles East faced Geneva in the first of two scheduled regular season matches this season.
This first, in the 23rd annual Rose Augsburg Drach Invitational, had a brief period of liberte, when both teams found the freedom to get a shot on goal and score a goal -- the only tallies in a 1-1 result. And after the match, there was plenty of fraternite with players from both teams mingling around the Norris Stadium grandstand after a hard-fought encounter.
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But the overriding sense was of egalite, the word the French use for "tied" -- because despite 80 minutes of effort, neither team was able to prove that it was better than the other on the scoreboard -- something each will try to change in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division match that takes place April 10, also at Norris Stadium.
"I thought it was a very good game," St. Charles East coach Paul Jennison said. "I thought, in the second half, we had the majority of play. In the first half, they played some better stuff. In the end, obviously a draw's come out, and I suppose that would be a fair result."
The Saints (5-2-1) grabbed the lead 11 minutes into the match following a misplay by the Vikings goalkeeper. Freshman Darcy Cunningham stole the ball near the end line on the right side of the penalty area, moved briefly toward goal and then shot into the vacated net.
"You've got to give the girl credit, she's run 40 yards to close the keeper down," Jennison said. "It's one of those where when you work hard, good things happen."
The goal was the third this season allowed by Geneva (6-1-1) and the Vikings sorted things out immediately to work to keep the Saints from scoring again.
The Vikings equalized with 19 minutes left in the first half. With St. Charles East's bench calling for a foul, Michael Loebel sent the ball from the right wing to Hope Goodman, who controlled the ball and shot from the left side of the penalty area off the inside of the right post and into the net.
"Honestly, I saw the ball right before it landed in front of me," Goodman said. "The whole time, I was thinking 'I have to keep it down and get it into the corner and past the goalie. I listened to myself and it went in."
Despite an 8-0 Tuesday victory over Larkin, Owens said her team needs to sort some things out offensively in a very difficult stretch of matches.
"I think we played all right," Owens said. "We moved the ball well and we were pretty strong defensively. I think we are still trying to figure out who's going to get the starting spot in the net. It's just that we've got to shoot the ball. We possess, possess, possess and look for the perfect shot. We've got to get out there and hammer it home."
After allowing the goal, the Saints sorted out their own defense. Catherine Allon had one effort that went over the crossbar in the second half and Molly Axen had a pair of breaks into the penalty area. But the Vikings did not come any closer to scoring than the Saints in the second half.
"That's a credit to both defenses," Jennison said. "I'd like to think we got behind a few times in the second half, but both teams defended well. Then again, that's what normally happens when you have a Geneva, North or Batavia game."
Schaumburg defeated Naperville Central in the first game of the six-match tournament, which continues Thursday and concludes Saturday.