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updated: 3/19/2014 10:57 PM

West Aurora, Wheaton Academy open with scoreless tie

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  • Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley drives the ball past West Aurora's Yulissa Espino in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.

       Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley drives the ball past West Aurora's Yulissa Espino in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Jocelyn Ferrar, left, and Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley fight for the ball in the first half on Wednesday in Aurora.

       West Aurora's Jocelyn Ferrar, left, and Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley fight for the ball in the first half on Wednesday in Aurora.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley receives and steers the ball in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.

       Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley receives and steers the ball in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Samantha O'Brien (left) and Wheaton Academy's Ali Grant fight for control of the ball in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.

       West Aurora's Samantha O'Brien (left) and Wheaton Academy's Ali Grant fight for control of the ball in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Jocelyn Ferrar, left, and Alicia Rotolo, far right, sandwich Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley as they try to keep control of the ball in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.

       West Aurora's Jocelyn Ferrar, left, and Alicia Rotolo, far right, sandwich Wheaton Academy's Jamie Netzley as they try to keep control of the ball in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Carli Hix drives the ball past Wheaton Academy's Kate Lindsay in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.

       West Aurora's Carli Hix drives the ball past Wheaton Academy's Kate Lindsay in the first half on Wednesday, March 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 

It was freshman on freshman.

Wheaton Academy forward Gretchen Pearson was within striking distance against West Aurora keeper Bailey Ziman with a half-minute to play Wednesday afternoon.

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Pearson hit a high-arching shot from about 18 yards out, but her fellow ninth-grader brushed the shot aside.

Wheaton Academy had one final opportunity, only to see the shot sail over the West Aurora goal with five seconds to play.

Time expired moments later, and the two teams had to settle for a 0-0 draw in Aurora in the Blackhawks' home opener to their girls soccer season.

"We were just looking to score," Pearson said. "It was disappointing. We were just hoping anything would go through."

The match ended in suitable fashion as each team had more-than-legitimate scoring opportunities over the last 20-plus minutes.

"I thought that one was in," Northern Illinois University-bound West Aurora forward Sam O'Brien said of her point-blank shot off Katharine Reynolds' cross with 21:43 remaining. "This was probably one of the best games we've played since I have been here. We had a lot more chances than we normally would have."

The Blackhawks (0-0-1) would have multiple chances in the waning minutes.

But no fewer than five quality chances all went by the wayside.

Reynolds, another promising freshman for West Aurora, a striker, had her shots whistle past the Warriors' goal twice in a two-plus minute span.

The final near-miss came five seconds before the 70th minute.

Abby Olson knows the feeling for Wheaton Academy (1-0-1).

The Warriors' senior leader, a St. Charles resident, was looking to make amends for at least three potential scores.

Fouled hard with 4:14 to play, Olson lined up for a free kick from a few yards past the penalty box.

But her blast sailed high.

"I was trying to go far post, but I sent it over," Olson said. "We thought one goal would win it."

West Aurora ended up with a 9-8 advantage in shot attempts.

"It was probably only fitting (the matched ended in a draw)," Wheaton Academy coach David Underwood said. "We had some opportunities. They had some opportunities."

The teams only managed a combined 3 shots in the opening half.

Ziman adroitly snared a Ziman cross to foil one Wheaton Academy push, and Olson had her right-side shot in the opening 40 minutes float inches above the post.

O'Brien countered for West Aurora with multiple somersault throw-ins to generate offense, but an offside call negated the best chance for a score.

"It was nice to have some opportunities," West Aurora defensive stalwart Abriya Zeitz said.

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