It would have been a hard April Fool's joke to swallow for South Elgin if one of its 31 shots didn't go in during a 1-0 Upstate Eight Valley girls soccer win over rival Bartlett at Millennium Field Tuesday.
After all, the Storm's defense didn't allow much to get to goalie Jordan Vaulkner and South Elgin outshout the Hawks by 27. But Bartlett's best antics behind goalkeeper Amanda Lozada's 17 saves brought South Elgin to the brink and as Storm coach Tiffany Disher said it for her team, "if (Bartlett) were to break away and just get one, it would be a sad story for us."
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But it wasn't. It was the Storm who broke away, unknotting things with 6 minutes to go. And it was Savanah Uveges once again rising to the challenge. The Nebraska-bound senior saw the split on the right side of the box, received a feed from Alena Ignatev, got the space and went high from right to left for the only goal to keep the Storm (5-0, 1-0) undefeated in a hard-fought, Elgin Area School District U-46 turf battle.
"I never doubt our team, we're always full of surprises," said Uveges, who notched her eighth goal of the year. "We wanted it so bad, I knew it was about time. We needed one. We were going to get one."
Uveges had an opportunity denied in the 60th minute when Lozada raced out almost 20 yards to prevent a Uveges score. For much of the second half, Bartlett saw everything but the kitchen sink.
"Whenever you're playing a rival school and you're coming off four big wins you have to play your game," Disher said. "And (we) did with possession. (We) did with taking shots. But (Lozada) did an amazing job at keeping them in the game."
Shot after shot after shot was dismissed by Lozada, who got an equal workout in each half. The Hawks' (3-2-1, 0-1) goalie stopped 10 in the first 40 minutes and a furious 7 in the final 40.
"Amanda. Player of the game. Phenomenal game," Bartlett coach Ben Beary said. "And I don't use that word lightly, she kept us up the whole game. I wished we could have finished it for her because she deserved it."
"I definitely appreciate playing a team of that stature," Lozada said. "But I definitely give credit to my defense, they worked their heart out and I couldn't ask for anything more. I think we did pretty well keeping them under wraps. Unfortunately, the last 10 minutes we got burned out a little bit."