Even strong teams need time to settle into matches, and there were early moments when Geneva's play looked a bit disjointed on Saturday at West Aurora.
But once the Vikings found their collective stride, they found some passing patterns, scored a variety of goals and finished their third straight shutout in a 4-0 nonconference victory.
"It did take us a little time," Geneva senior Hope Goodman said. "We were a little sloppy at first, a little rushed. Once we started getting going, started getting the intensity going, we looked really good."
The Vikings scored two calming goals in the opening quarter-hour of the match. Megan Fitz scored from close range in the eighth minute and Allie Mikos doubled the lead five minutes later. When Mary Landry scored 5 minutes before halftime, the Vikings were well on their way to victory.
"It took those first two goals, and then -- both sides -- you could see the intensity picked up a little bit," Geneva coach Megan Owens said. "We still have stuff to work on, but it's a good, solid win for us."
Freshman Maddy Rapach-Lagowski completed the scoring when she ran onto an Annie Waldoch free kick with 7 minutes left in the match and scored.
Geneva had players missing for a variety of reasons -- spring break, injuries and illness. One area where the Vikings have been strong is in defense. With seniors such as Tory Herbst, Annie Waldoch and Molly Stanfa in defense, the team has an experienced core.
"We've been playing together since we were 7 or 8," Goodman said. "We feel very comfortable and we really know how each other plays. We know everyone's going to step up when they need to."
Freshman goalie Emma Harklerood played Saturday with Sam Hauser unavailable due to illness and showed flashes of brilliance.
"She's a very talented underclassman and we're happy to have her in the program," Owens said. "She has a bright future ahead of her."
West Aurora (1-1-2) more than played its part in the match as well, and stretched the field more than in some previous matches with the Vikings.
"We knew going in that Geneva was a good team," West Aurora coach Laura Wagley said. "I think they caught us off-guard with the first two goals. When we made our second-half adjustments, I thought we played a lot better. I saw from our first game this year against Wheaton Academy, the team's confidence is sky high. I think they see what we can do as well."
In the early minutes of the match, and again in the second half, freshman forward Katharine Stephens was a nuisance. She and senior Sam O'Brien worked together at times as well in a striking partnership that is just taking shape.
"She's great up top," Wagley said of Stephens. "She just keeps going forward and doesn't stop. We're still trying to get her and (O'Brien) to work together better up top. They're getting better every game."
Stephens is one of four freshmen on the varsity squad this year.
"Having those girls helps the older girls," Wagley said. "And all of those girls except the keeper play club."
That keeper was Bailey Ziman, who showed considerable bravery and made a series of saves to prevent the score line from being worse.