Naperville North and Barrington have only practiced outside a few times this spring, but that didn't stop the two squads from opening the season on Monday night in Naperville.
They battled to a scoreless draw on yet another cold and windy evening.
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"We said if we could play, we wanted to play," Huskies coach Steve Goletz said. "The way this spring has been, God only knows when it's going to snow again."
As the two-time defending Class 3A champion, Naperville North is going to garner a lot of attention, but a new era has begun after 12 seniors graduated from a program that went 46-1-4 the past two seasons.
Making their debut for the Huskies were freshmen Ashley Santos, Morgan Krause and Emily Wilhelm, who teamed with junior Jen Fortman to form a back line that posted the shutout.
"Jen played a little bit last year, but the other three are all freshmen, so to get the shutout was great," Goletz said. "Of course, Fiona (Baenziger) was phenomenal. She made 3 or 4 game-saving saves and you need that while you have kids out there that are growing into the system."
Barrington also showed a great deal of inexperience, playing five freshmen.
"I was pleased with the effort," Fillies coach Ryan Stengren said. "It wasn't the best soccer, but with the weather conditions and only being outside twice, you can't expect for it to be pretty right now."
The Fillies had the better run of things in the second half and created a fair share of scoring opportunities. Baenziger thwarted shots from Annalise Avers in the 60th minute and Jenna Szczesny in the 70th.
"It felt good to make a couple stops and to do something good for the team," Baenziger said. "It was a little nerve-wracking at the beginning with starting a whole new era and everything, but for the first game, I'm pretty happy with the result."
Stengren saw a fair share of missed opportunities.
"We created a lot of chances but we weren't as hungry as we need to be in the box," he said. "We haven't worked on the offensive third stuff yet."
Naperville North scoring machine Abbie Boswell, who had 27 goals and 10 assists last season, is returning from an MCL injury. Goletz limited the Ball State recruit's minutes.
"I probably played her more than I should have, but she's a super competitive kid that wants to be out there," he said. "I tried to limit her to 10-minute spurts."
Midfielders Meghan Lee and Lily Butler and forward Sarah Feder were the only senior starters for the Huskies.
"I thought the midfield connected really well for a first game," Lee said. "I think that people have this expectation that we're not going to be as great as last year, but we have a lot of competition in the Naperville area with these clubs players, so I think we'll not be as bad as some people perceive us to be."