Samantha Slater scored her first varsity goal in Warren's girls soccer home opener, proving that dreams can and do sometimes come true.
It came on a header, and Slater's goal was the game-winner as Warren shut out visiting Stevenson 1-0 in a North Suburban Lake Division opener in Gurnee on Tuesday night.
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The goal was set up by Kristen Huard's corner kick in the 46th minute.
"I'm just going to try to do it, because I have nothing to lose," Slater explained of the big finish. "I just hit it perfectly, placed it (into the net). I had imagined it would happen, and it finally happened in a game. I was focused on the ball and I was waiting for it -- waiting to see if anybody else was going to do anything. Then I went in and attacked the ball.
"I thought it was kind of lucky. Other times it goes over the bar or gets flicked away."
The Blue Devils (1-1-1, 1-1) picked up their first Lake Division victory, while Stevenson (0-2-1, 0-1) suffered its first divisional loss.
Warren's defense was a big part of holding back Stevenson's offensive attack.
"We had some girls that saved some balls off the line," Warren coach Ryan McCabe said. "They were hustling and outworking. It's something that we've been working on, and they all stepped up."
The Blue Devils defenders were Stephanie Schwab, Katherine Schwede, Hannah Sislow and Alexis Strothers. Warren goalkeeper Liz Carrano made 14 stops and earned the clean sheet.
"I just anticipate, I come out soon and read the plays," Carrano said. "I love how our defense closes down quickly and we help out each other no matter what. If one gets beat, another one covers. We know how to work together."
Warren had to replace 12 players that graduated from last season's team. It's still a work in progress, but it sure seems to be coming together quickly.
"We had to work from scratch and we've had some good healthy competition in practice," McCabe said. "It's brought up our level of play quite a bit. We just have to fill a lot of gaps."
Stevenson wasn't playing at full strength, but still managed to hit a post and several chances at finding the back of the net.
"We did create plenty of near chances and almost chances," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "(Warren's) goalkeeper (Carrano) played real well off the line.
"I thought in the flow of play we did fine. We were shorthanded, with some of our freshman and other players that don't normally get to play. They played the game of their lives. The experience will pay off for us."