When the opportunity presented itself, Grant junior Nina Deligio didn't pass up the chance to use her head.
Especially with a game-winning goal at stake.
Deligio, who stands 4-foot-10, scored her first goal of the season and led Grant past host Wauconda 1-0 in a North Suburban Prairie Division match on Tuesday night.
Deligio had watched her elder triplet brothers play varsity soccer, and she learned a great deal from them. Those brothers -- Danny, Dominick and Sammy -- not only played soccer but were wrestlers too. The trio graduated in 2007.
"They taught me to be tough, and a lot of times you see girls go for a ball -- they'll cringe away, thinking it will hurt," Deligio said. "So they taught me to go up and hit it. It might hurt a lot less.
"They are my idols, and I look up to them a lot."
Deligio's goal came in the 40th minute, just before halftime. Jenna Pecorini sent a corner kick in front of the Wauconda goal; the ball was headed up in the air and Deligio knocked it in from near the back post.
"I saw the opportunity and jumped," Deligio said. "I saw the ball come my way -- it hit my head, and at first I didn't think it would go in. I was looking around and a number of the girls were saying 'good job.' Then I realized it went in."
Deligio had converted headers in practice, but never before in a game.
"It takes the courage of actually going up there and doing it," said Deligio, who had 4 goals last year. " Coach (Michael Kennedy) has been telling us all week to head the ball and win it. Before we started the game, he really stressed it."
Anna Rodas made 9 stops in earning a clean sheet for Grant (5-2 overall, 3-0 in the Prairie).
It was Grant's first game on grass this season, and adjusting to the soft field conditions took some time.
"We'll take any victory we can get," Kennedy said. "Battling the field conditions ... it was terrible for both teams. It was a different atmosphere playing on grass.
"Overall, we've got to get out more and deal with the conditions. We still have a lot to work to do on getting better."
Wauconda (0-5, 0-2) is still in search of its first win of the season, but the Bulldogs keep getting closer each time out. A lack of practice time hasn't helped matters.
"I did like how the girls played, even though we gave up a goal late in the first half," said Wauconda coach Patrick Heckman. "We did have the wind at our backs in the second half. In practice, we worked on corner kicks and had some chances. They had good effort and kept pushing down to the last minutes.
"Team-wise, we need the practice and this spring hasn't allowed that to happen. We had a good effort, but came up short."