The Metea Valley girls soccer team is now one win away from clinching at least a share of its second Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division title in four seasons.
A dominant offensive performance led to a 26-2 advantage in total shots resulting in a 4-0 Mustangs' victory over Bartlett on Tuesday night at Millennium Field in Streamwood. Metea Valley (10-1-2, 4-0-1) concludes its conference schedule next Tuesday at East Aurora.
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"It definitely means the world to our team to have a chance at a conference title," said Paige Velez, who scored twice for the Mustangs. "Our school is still relatively young, and it means a lot for our program."
"We've been playing well," Mustangs' coach Pat Feulner said. "The kids are really coming together. We lost 10 seniors last year and we really didn't know what to expect at the start of the season, but they've really worked hard and are playing well together."
Bartlett (9-5-1, 1-4) kept the game scoreless for most of the first half until Nicki Hernandez headed in a Tracey McCoy corner kick in the 34th minute. Madie Sandberg made it 2-0 finding the net off a Jenna Kentgen assist with just 20.5 seconds left on the clock in the opening half.
The Mustangs produced 9 corner kicks in the game leading to a pair of goals, the second coming in the 61st minute with Sara Severson taking the kick. Hawks' goalkeeper Amanda Lozada (13 saves) initially stopped a Kentgen shot, but Velez was there to finish for the 3-0 lead.
In the 67th minute, Velez scored the final goal of the game unassisted.
"Once you get that first goal in any game, it kind of gets things rolling," Velez said. "We were able to gain a little momentum, and we ran with it."
Mariela Alba had the Hawks' lone shot on goal of the game, which was saved by Mustangs' keeper Chauntelle Johnson. who split time with Amy Ahern to help earn the team's fourth straight shutout and sixth of the season.
Despite the loss, Bartlett coach Ben Beary was happy with the play of forward Sarah Jurek as well as with Melissa Gal and Jenna Noesen.
"Hats off to Metea Valley because they're a good team," Beary said. "They have a ton of talent and a lot of speed up top, and this is a good game and a good learning experience for a young team."