After five road games to start the 2014 campaign, the young Cary-Grove girls soccer team was looking forward to Saturday's home opener against nonconference foe Elk Grove.
It was worth the wait.
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Spearheaded by a stifling defense, Cary-Grove was able to eke out a 1-0 win over the visiting Grenadiers.
"We have played a brutal schedule on the road against all teams that are ranked high in any polls," said Cary-Grove coach Ray Krystal. "We used those games as learning experiences. Our young team needed a home game and performed well. Our defense was excellent today as we had all 11 kids working well together. We have the right personnel to play well defensively. Offensively, we took advantage of an Elk Grove miscue in front of the net."
Taking advantage of that Elk Grove mistake, the Trojans scored the only goal they needed with 23:21 left in the first half when, off a perfectly executed pass from Genna Sobieszczyk, Alex Airhart drove a shot past Elk Grove goalie Melissa Solorio.
"Genna gave me a great pass in the perfect spot to shoot," said Airhart. "It was all timing. It was nice to play at home and get a win. Our defense was excellent the whole game."
Cary-Grove (2-3-1) outshot Elk Grove (1-4) 9-3. Solorio kept the Grens (1-4) in the game with 6 saves.
"Melissa is a four-year starter and has played very well in the goal for me for four years," said Elk Grove coach Dan Klaus. "She kept us in the game with some great saves. The goal we gave up was a failed clearance and shouldn't have happened. Our overall schedule and our conference schedule is so demanding. We tell our kids to stay positive and to be mentally tough."
Cary-Grove had a golden opportunity to score an insurance goal early in the second half, but Solario was able stop a 15-yard bullet by the Trojans' Abby Glaysher.
Cary-Grove freshman goalie Morgan Olsen registered 2 saves. With 3:45 left the Grens threatened to tie the game but Olsen stopped a rebound shot in front of the net by Nikki Zaino.
"Morgan has a lot of composure for a freshman playing goal," said Krystal. "She is very disciplined and very focused at what she needs to do."