If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Those were words to live by for the Elgin girls soccer team on Tuesday.
After letting several scoring opportunities slip by the Maroons' persistence finally paid off when Jenny Lopez scored with 11:34 left to play to give Elgin a 1-0 Upstate Eight Conference River Division win over rival Larkin at Memorial Field.
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Lopez's goal came on the Maroons' 14th shot attempt of the game.
"I was just telling the kids to keep shooting," Elgin coach Alicia Knoll said. "Sooner or later we had to get one to go in. If anyone deserved it it was Jenny. She had so many opportunities and just never quit. She kept pushing, so I was glad to see her finally get one."
With the Royals' defense swarming to the ball on the near side of the field, Lopez managed to slip behind to the far side undetected. Hannah Erickson lofted a long cross pass to Lopez, who booted the ball past Larkin goalkeeper Alejandra Villagomez from just inside the box.
"It was getting frustrating because we had so many chances to score," Lopez said. "But we just didn't give up. It was an intense game because we are all friends off the field. But on the field you are still all about wanting to win. It always feels great to beat your rivals."
The Maroons had a decisive 16-7 shot advantage and three times hit the crossbar before scoring and also missed on four open shots from inside the box.
"We did a lot of passing and I thought we did a good job of seeing the open player," Knoll said. "I thought the way we checked to the ball allowed us to control it more."
Now at .500 the Maroons (6-6, 2-3) are enjoying their best season in years.
"I am really happy for the seniors," Knoll said. "They have been through a lot and I'm glad to see them finally enjoying some success. We also have a lot of good young talent coming up. So, I am not only excited about what kind of team we could become if we continue to improve like we have been."
Goalkeeper Hannah Demel had 3 saves to record the shutout for the Maroons.
It marked the eighth time that Larkin (2-13-1, 0-4) has lost a game by one goal this season.
"Give them credit," Larkin coach Ken Hall said. "They went to the ball hard and we didn't go to the ball quite as hard. We played a little scared and when you do that you are not going to win many games. The few chances we did get we just couldn't take advantage."
The Royals' best scoring opportunity came early in the second half when Samantha Moreno had an open shot from 15 yards out after getting a crossing pass, but she sent it just high of the crossbar.
Villagomez had 8 saves for the Royals