Maine West strikes early, often
Maine West struck five times in the first half, with freshman Joanne Stanfa scoring twice, in a ruthless display of attacking football that helped secure a 6-0 win over crosstown rival Maine East on Tuesday night in Central Suburban North girls soccer action in Des Plaines.
Alexia Prosperi supplied the only goal the home side would need at just two minutes, before Jessica Gonzalez doubled the Warriors' (10-6-2, 1-1-1) lead in the 12th minute -- setting up Stanfa, who leads the club in scoring with 12 goals.
"Ever since our match at Wheeling where we warmed up poorly, and came out not ready to play, we've been so much better in our preparation, and even in our cool down, and tonight, even against a team that we were better than, our approach was very good right from the start, and it showed with that quick goal that we scored," said the senior Gonzalez, who along with Annaliese Walsten, Alice Farone, Prosperi and Stanfa had way too much pace and energy for the Blue Demons (0-7-1, 0-1-0) to help create a handful of chances in the early stages.
"Alice and Joanne were very dangerous up top for us tonight, but what I really liked was the way that we attacked with our set pieces, dead balls and corners, and how most of our first five goals came from width and those dead ball opportunities," said West head coach Mike Divincenzo, whose club eclipsed its 2011 win total of nine.
The visitors defended poorly a corner in the first 90 seconds sent in by Walsten, allowing Prosperi to run freely through the box to one-time a right-footed shot past keeper Olivia Olson, who had a tough night between the sticks, but was able to make several outstanding saves to keep the final score under control.
A poor pass backward from a Blue Demon midfielder was collected by Farone, and against the run of play, the freshman rushed up the right side before finding Gonzalez, who fired under Olson from just inside the box.
"We had our troubles scoring last week at the Niles West tournament (where the Warriors finished second overall) -- so it felt pretty good to score a couple of quick goals tonight, and continue getting into the back of the net after we took our 2-goal lead," said Gonzalez.
The Warriors continued to pepper Olson and her mates along the back, with Maggie McCabe going close in the 16th minute when she expertly brought the ball down to set up her attempt from in close.
At 21 minutes, Stanfa made it 3-0 when her point-blank drive was stopped by Olson -- but unfortunately for the Blue Demons -- a rebound was left sitting inside the 6-yard box for the freshman to slot under the fallen keeper.
Minutes later, Cyndi Delgado and Stanfa worked a marvelous 1-2 combination to perfection, allowing the rookie sensation to trick her way in and past Olson for an easy goal.
The Warriors had further chances before intermission, but was only able to put one more into the back of the net with senior Jessie Mueller scoring her first of the year on a helper from Kelly Adamek to the back post.
"I thought we played a little too direct in the first half, but I was impressed with the way that we tried to possess and knock the ball around in the second half, especially with us moving players around after the break," said Divincenzo.
"This is a really close-knit team, and everyone works really hard in training each and everyday, so it was nice to give those players, who work as hard as our starters, and have made the same commitment as them, to get so many minutes in that second half."
Bridget Burger put the icing on the cake with the sixth and final goal of the night in the 50th minute when she finished a superb ball out of the back from Stanfa.
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