It was weather for football -- not futbol -- but nonetheless, Hersey's girls soccer team beat the frigid conditions and visiting Cary-Grove on Tuesday afternoon to run its early record to a spotless 4-0-0.
The Huskies used an early strike from its all-state midfielder Lauren Gierman and some stingy defense to earn a 1-0 win with their third shutout of the season.
"It's still very early in the season, and we've gotten off to a pretty good start so far, but there's a lot of things we'll need to continue to work on, and there will be plenty more after we play Huntley at the end of this week," said Hersey coach Darren Llewellyn. He's following Brad Abel, who ran the show in Arlington Heights for nine years, winning over 120 matches during that time.
"We've done pretty well, but we have a lot of new faces at new positions, so it's going to take some time for us to come together as a team" said Gierman, who recently commited to play at NIU.
The hosts were exposed in their own end during the early stages as the Trojans (0-2-0) came quickly out of the blocks, but after conceding a couple of good looks on frame from Emma Baker, the Huskies broke through to set the tone for the next quarter-hour.
Gierman, a senior, drove her close-range shot off the post and over the endline at five minutes for her third goal in the last two games.
With Gierman running the show from midfield, and teammates Jessica Schmidt, Sara Magnuson, and newcomer Kelly Weyhrich following her lead, the Huskies enjoyed the run of play with a diverse attack that kept the visitors pinned in their own end more than they'd have liked.
"We struggled a little after that first goal and had some trouble with our possession, but after we settled down I thought our play in the last 20 minutes of the first half and during most of the second half was much better," said Cary-Grove coach Ray Krystal, now in his eighth year leading the Trojans.
Magnuson and Schmidt combined to set Gierman free inside the box, but an alert Ellie Baily blocked the right-footed drive.
Gierman's ensuing corner fell to Kayla Knauss, and her attempt at an open net was cleared off the line by the ever-present Baily, who along with Rosie Townsley and Candace Cunningham did well to keep the Huskies from getting in on freshman keeper Morgan Olsen.
After the break, the Trojans delivered their best overall soccer of the day, combining a high work rate, quality distribution out of the middle, and quicker play to keep the home side in their own end for most of the second period.
Carli Petersen and Katie Conner were at the heart of the Cary-Grove attack. When they, along with Abby Graysher and Jenni Phillips, were on the ball, the Trojans were at their best.
"You could see the improvement from our opening game (versus Lake Zurich) last Friday to today," said Krystal. "This is a very young group we have this season. But the thing you've got to like about them is how they take coaching, and bits of info into the game and try to use them as best they can.
"We've been very happy with that so far."
The Trojans have a busy week ahead of them beginning Saturday afternoon as they open up against Batavia at the Lake Park Invite. After that, it's state power Buffalo Grove on April 1, followed by the host Lancers next Saturday.
The Huskies begin preparation for the top team in the MSL West, Conant, who they will meet on April 4.
"Those back-to-backs with two really strong teams in Huntley, then Conant will be the first real tests of the season, so we will know after that where we stand and what we'll need to work on in order to compete at a higher level," said Llewellyn.