The constant presence of Kendra Videckis, Josie Dombrowski and Shelly Lyjak proved too much for a young team side from Hoffman Estates on Thursday night as Bartlett prevailed 2-0 in a nonconference match at Millennium Field in Streamwood.
The Marquette-bound Videckis was a handful for the Hawks throughout the first period, scoring the opener and then combining with Mariah Martinez to double the Bartlett advantage. Meanwhile, Dombrowski and Lyjak never seemed to run out of ideas to keep the Bartlett attack on full throttle.
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"We have a lot of talent on our roster, and we've improved each time out this year," said Videckis, who played last season with the Sockers before coming back for her final year at Bartlett following off'season surgery to repair a herniated disc. "I kind of wish I had one more year with this team because of the potential we have."
"This is a great group to be around this year," said Bartlett coach Ben Beary, who is also in charge of the boys program but is in his first season at the helm with the girls team after taking over for Heather Thomas. "We have been better with each game, and tonight we might have gotten a little closer to where I think we can get to. But there's a lot of work and soccer still ahead of us."
Hoffman Estates (0-5-0) was coming off its best performance of the year thus far in a 3-2 loss to Mid-Suburban West power Conant on Wednesday. But it was clear during the early exchanges that it had taken its toll on coach Ralph Tooren's club.
"Oh boy, we look tired out there tonight, didn't we?" said Tooren. "After a superb second half of soccer against Conant, I was at a loss for words, (I) was so proud of the girls. But we came out lifeless and always a step to slow on the ball or in our tackling, and we just never really got into the game like we did last night."
With Dombrowski, Lyjak, Jenna Noesen and Molly O'Malley at the controls, Bartlett opened with some inspired play, and it wasn't long before Bartlett was in the back of the net thanks to Videckis. The senior collected a throw, then got to full speed on her run before driving a nasty ball past keeper Francesca Van, who had little chance on the 16-yard strike.
Videckis nearly found teammate Sarah Jurek at the back post moments after the 16th-minute goal, but a lovely bit of combination soccer gave Bartlett its second goal of the night at 26 minutes.
That's when Martinez and Videckis played a nice 1-2. Waiting long enough for Martinez to get deep into her run, Videckis provided a superb helper onto the foot of the sophomore, who finished smartly on the left side.
"We were so tired, and our legs were gone in that first half, but that's still not an excuse for playing the way we did tonight," said Hoffman Estates senior captain Kelly Rottman.
Despite the deficit, the visitors stayed close in the second half as talented central midfielder Ale Alonso got more touches and teammates Michelle Montes De Oca, Karina Luna and Tara Jablonski were able to find freshman striker Natalie Nagrant. She'd scored both goals against Conant, and Hoffman Estates was able to create some trouble in the Bartlett end with more frequency.
If not for an alert Jamie Kenna, who tracked all the way back to clear a sure goal by Nagrant off the line, Hoffman Estates would have cut into the Bartlett lead 13 minutes from time.
Hoffman Estates, now with more urgency in its step, threw more numbers forward to keep the pressure on. But the Bartlett back line of Toria Tomasek, Melissa Gal and Kenna stayed airtight to allow Amanda Lozada and Tessa Jatczak to share the shutout.
"We've got a tough stretch coming up with Downers Grove South and Neuqua Valley next week, so we'll see how we measure up after both of those games," said Beary.
Hoffman Estates was disappointed by the outcome against Bartlett but remains confident that better things are ahead for a team short on varsity experience.
"When I was a freshmen, there were six seniors on our roster," Rottman said. "This year, there's just three of us, but there is so much more talent than ever before, and I know it will come together really soon for us."