Some electrical problems left St. Charles North's scoreboard partially operational for much of Wednesday's Upstate Eight Conference girls soccer title match between Valley Division winners Waubonsie Valley and the hosts, winners of the River Division.
When the scoreboard lit fully late in the second half, it reinforced what everyone in the stands and on the field knew -- Waubonsie Valley was on its way to a comfortable 3-0 victory and its seventh straight victory.
"We try to play every game like it's our last," Waubonsie Valley sophomore midfielder Morgan Kemerling said. "Especially for our seniors. They're great this year and once they're gone, they're gone. So we try to enjoy it while it lasts -- finish hard and finish strong."
After surviving early St. Charles North (15-3-1) pressure, the Warriors (16-3-1) pounced on their first true opportunity. A loose ball in the midfield came to Paige Filipek, and the freshman fired a 30-yard rocket into the upper right corner of the net.
"When you see the goal, you've got to take a shot," Filipek said. "If you don't try, you won't score. They dropped off and I had the space and I took the shot."
Filipek's goal came with 15:43 left in the first half and it took the Warriors another 20 minutes to double their lead. Junior Kristen Dodson pulled away from her defender in the center of the penalty area, brought down a cross and shot back toward the right post. The ball crept into the net and Waubonsie Valley led 2-0 with 34:53 remaining.
"Every shot counts and every goal counts and I'm just happy to contribute," Dodson said. "I felt I did very well with moving my body. It gave me a great amount of space to take my time and get the ball to the net."
Five minutes later, the Warriors applied an insurance goal when Dodson pulled the ball back on the left side of the penalty area, then sent a ball on the ground to Filipek, whose redirected shot completed the match scoring.
"(Dodson) just got them, she beat them down the line," Filipek said. "She did a great job creating space for me, getting them to step. And then she laid it off and I just finished it."
St. Charles North (15-3-1) had the better early chances and could have taken the lead after 15 minutes when Ashlyn Walter met a Darcy Stoecklin lead pass and hit a fierce volley off the crossbar.
"I thought we played well in the first half," St. Charles North coach Ruth Vostal said. "I didn't think we played and possessed the ball well in the second half. I think our fight could have been a little better."
St. Charles North had some players slightly injured who did not play, including seniors Kenzie Rose and Natalie Winkates. Vostal did not second-guess her decision to not risk those players in Wednesday's match.
"We were sort of in the middle," Vostal said. "Yeah, you want to win, because we're all competitive. But the biggest thing we kept saying was 'if we lose, and we come away healthy, we'll be happy, rather than if we win and someone goes down.'"
Once Waubonsie Valley scored, St. Charles North's scoring chances began to fade. Jorie Clawson had a pair of open opportunities in the final 15 minutes, but both flew over the crossbar.
"I think it's definitely a learning experience," Clawson said. "Normally we come out with a big fight, as a whole group. I don't think tonight we fought as hard as we could have or should have."