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updated: 5/10/2014 8:44 PM

St. Charles East knocks down Kaneland

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By Darryl Mellema
Daily Herald Correspondent

It's been a while since Chumbawamba hit the charts with "Tubthumping" -- which featured the repeating lyrics "I get knocked down; but I get up again; you're never gonna keep me down."

Without resorting to music, that's essentially what St. Charles East girls soccer coach Paul Jennison told his team before they took the Norris Stadium field to play Kaneland in a nonconference match on Saturday. He reminded his team of their 3-1 Friday night loss to Geneva, told them that good teams respond in adversity -- and then demanded a response from his Saints.

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St. Charles East provided that extra effort in a 3-0 victory to hand Kaneland just its second loss of the season.

"We asked for a response today and to be fair, we got it," Jennison said. "The big difference is the goals that we put in. That's been our Achilles' heel year, shooting on target. We play pretty stuff and we needed a bit more of that cutting edge. Today we got it."

In fact, the way the Saints recovered was something noted by Kaneland coach Scott Parillo as well after the match.

"They could have folded, had that hangover and just folded," Parillo said. "They didn't and that's a testament to (Jennison) and his girls."

For incisive play, look no further than Kelli Santo Paolo, who took shots on goal -- and came away with a pair of goals to double her season's goal-scoring total.

"We all work together," Santo Paolo said. "We all motivate each other to keep going and success comes out of that."

Santo Paolo put the Saints ahead 13 minutes into the match with a shot into the top portion of Kaneland's goal.

"We've been telling the girls to shoot on goal," Jennison said. "We can work on the accuracy. But we can't work on the lack of attempts."

St. Charles East chased Geneva throughout Friday's match after falling behind. Playing with the lead changed the nature of the Kaneland contest.

"It's way better to score first," Santo Paolo said. "It gets us motivated and we have our heads up. It helps us move forward and play better."

That goal marked the first time this season Kaneland had fallen behind. The Knights had only given up 4 goals all season before Saturday. Granted, the Knights' schedule isn't on the level of St. Charles East's -- but the Knights have a young, very talented squad. And the margin between the teams remained one goal until 12 minutes into the second half.

"That's the disappointing thing from my standpoint is that we'd given up only four goals all season," Parillo said. "One was a penalty kick and two were in our first game. But they had great shots."

As well as the Knights have done this year, they could be building to better things. While the upperclassmen such as Delaney Stryczek and Madison Jurcenko have contributed great things, freshmen such as Taylor Zitkus and Holly Collingbourne have given Parillo something to anticipate for the next three seasons.

"We return 17 players next year and 12 or 13 of them are freshmen or sophomores," Parillo said. "It bodes well for the future. It doesn't bode well for today against a team that came out on a mission. But I'm proud of them. They fought. They didn't give up."

In building its program, Parillo has sought improved competition. The team's season-opening loss was to Normal West, one of the top downstate teams.

"We want to test ourselves," Parillo said. "We have to figure out what to do in order to get to (St. Charles East's) level. What (Jennison) has done with this program is amazing in the last few years -- boys and girls."

Darcy Cunningham provided a right wing cross to Rion Gaffney, whose shot from the left portion of the penalty area went back across goal and into the right side netting.

Now the Saints took control and added their third goal in the 20th minute of the second half. Anna Corirrosi sent a ball from midfield to the right corner to Sophie Jendrzeczyk, whose ball to the left found Santo Paolo, who scored her second goal of the match.

"I think the difference in the game was three great strikes on goal," Jennison said.

Despite playing a difficult match against a rival on Friday, the Saints were able to work through any issues of tired legs. While he used his bench liberally throughout the match, with the 3-0 lead, Jennison removed the bulk of the starting lineup, especially players who had been carrying some knocks from Friday night.

"They were able to connect passes better than we were, because they were right on top of us," Parillo said. "Our girls were like 'they're everywhere,' and I said 'you've got to match it.' We did that and forced them to make a couple of bad passes, but it was much too late."

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