Scoring was on the minds of many of Stevenson's girls soccer players on Tuesday afternoon.
There were numerous opportunities for the Patriots, but the majority found the post or the crossbar, and a couple barely missed the frame.
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The Patriots' Olivia Whalen netted a pair of goals, but Stevenson ended up on the short end of a 4-2 decision to visiting Lake Forest in a North Suburban Lake match at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.
"I'm very proud with the way we executed," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "Lake Forest is a good team. We played very hard and gutsy game.
"I honestly believe the score could've been different. There's no worries -- we played a good game and we learned some things here. We're going to find ourselves and put ourselves back together."
Whalen has 9 goals this season and says the improved offensive punch for Stevenson (10-4-2, 3-1 NSC Lake) can be traced back to practice.
"We have been working on shooting a lot over the last week," Whalen said. "I've been working on getting my shot to be lower and lower because I kept on going over and over the bar.
"We've been able to make good runs which allowed us to get inside (the defense). I thought (Lake Forest) was playing flat. So the over and through balls worked very well."
Whalen scored the first goal for the Patriots in the 10th minute off a long service from Haley Green.
Lake Forest (11-3-2, 2-0-2) bounced back with 3 unanswered goals. Lucy Edwards knocked one in from 35 yards off the bottom of the crossbar in the 29th minute, while Sydney Johnston assisted.
Abby Shipp made it 2-1 in the 29th minute off a pass from Kali Polich, and Carly Hoke found the back of the net off another Polich assist for a 3-1 Scouts advantage in the 45th minute.
Stevenson cut the lead to 3-2 as Whalen scored her second goal with an assist from Jenna Weiner in the 54th minute.
Lake Forest only needed 30 seconds to restore its 2-golad lead as Polich scored after a short pass from Hoke.
"Either way, that was a killer," Lake Forest coach Ty Stuckslager said. "Either way, we both have been on both sides of that. You get it and you get that enthusiasm. Everybody knows the most important time after a goal is the first 30 seconds."
As for the NSC Lake race, it's now a three-way battle with a week remaining.
Lake Forest will host Libertyville on Thursday, and Lake Zurich on Monday. Stevenson visits Lake Zurich (8-6-1, 3-0) Thursday and plays Mundelein on Monday. Lake Zurich is scheduled for a 5 p.m. Saturday game at Libertyville.