The scoring touch on free kicks recently has eluded Nestor Ascencio.
Ascencio hopes his free-kick goal Thursday changes that.
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The Streamwood senior scored on a free kick from just outside the penalty area with 14:54 remaining in the first half for the game's only goal in a 1-0 Upstate Eight River victory over St. Charles North at Millennium Field.
"Kind of like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Ascencio said. "I've been pretty close on several chances. To finally hit one, and it's the game winner, it feels pretty good."
Streamwood (13-2-3, 4-1-1) now has 6 consecutive shutouts. The North Stars (2-10-2, 0-4-1) did not have a shot on goal and just 2 shots total.
"Six in a row at this point in the season is, I think, truly phenomenal," Sabres coach Matt Polovin said. "I'm very proud of these guys. Of course, we still have some more to work on and just tweak a little bit getting ready for regionals. But I'll always take a 1-0 shutout."
The Sabres had other scoring opportunities but fired several shots wide or saw them saved by North goalkeeper Billy Larsen, who finished with 8 saves to keep the North Stars close. Larsen's best save came at the expense of Ascencio when Larsen stopped Ascencio point blank with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
STC North's best chance came 3 minutes before Ascencio's goal. Nick Graham's header off a free kick went just over the crossbar.
"I thought we did a little better job in the second half. We came out a little more defensive in the first," North Stars coach Eric Wilson said. "While (the Sabres) had possession they didn't get a lot of clean chances, with the exception of the free kick."