The frustration was evident.
With good scoring opportunities throughout most of the first half against Rockford Boylan, St. Charles East (9-2-3) didn't score until 4:16 remained on a goal by Kayla Villa off an assist by Ashley Diorio.
The Saints went on from there to record a 3-1 win over the Titans in group play of the Naperville Invite girls soccer tournament Saturday in a game played at Barrington.
The win puts SCE into the championship bracket of the tournament. The Saints will take on Naperville North at NN on Thursday at 7 p.m.
"Early in the game we delivered good passes but we couldn't finish," said Villa. "That first goal took the pressure off. Coach at halftime told us to keep attacking. The trend this year has been for us to score more goals in the second half."
The Saints, who outshot Boylan 17-4, followed coach Vince DiNuzzo's second half game plan and scored with only 7:39 elapsed in the second half on an unassisted goal by Rose Stackhouse to make the score 2-0.
East scored its final goal of the game with 29:25 left in the contest on a tally by Hannah Miller off a feed from Margaret Harper.
Boylan got on the scoreboard with 21:11 left on a goal by Gwen Dannenberg off an assist by Brooke Parnello.
The Titans, drawing Saints goalie Grace Griffin out of the keeper area, threatened to make the score 3-2 but defender Hayley Popiel dove in front of the net to make the save.
Griffin registered 2 saves.
"Boylan is a solid team and you have to play 80 minutes of good soccer to beat them," said DiNuzzo. "Early in the game, we were uncertain and inconsistent in attacking their defense. We did a better job, especially in the second half, of timing our runs and getting better angles on our shots. This is the best tournament in the state. There are so many talented teams that will get us ready for the state tournament."
Loyola 1, Burlington Central 0: Burlington Central coach Jess Arneson believes that playing against some of the top Class 3A teams around will ready her team for the 2A postseason which begins in less than a month.
The Rockets, coming off a penalty kick win over defending 3A state champion Barrington late Friday night, held another top 3A team, Loyola Academy, scoreless for nearly 60 minutes but the Ramblers scored halfway through the second half to post a 1-0 win Saturday in action of the Naperville Invite held at Barrington High School.
"We had a tough game against Barrington the night before and had to come back 12 hours later to play a very good Loyola team," said Arneson, whose team took third place in Class 2A last spring.
"We came out a little flat but we amped up the intensity and we played more physical. We didn't play our best but we need to play teams like Barrington and Loyola to get ready for the postseason. I like the format of playing Friday and Saturday. That is how the state tournament is set up."
BC (9-2) will continue play in the tournament this coming week with games against Geneva on Thursday and Evanston next Saturday.
Loyola (9-1-1), which outshot the Rockets (9-2) 10-3, finally got on the scoreboard with 21:31 remaining on a goal by Cate Shellenback off a perfect crossing pass from Stephanie Ramsay.
Loyola goalie Maggie Avery turned back all 3 shots the Rockets peppered on goal.
"I really like the way we played for 80 minutes," said Loyola coach Craig Snower. "We had a good flow and we created a lot of opportunities. It was nice to finally get the lead in the second half. That was huge. This is a resilient group that has overcome a lot early in the season. We pride ourselves on playing the best 2A teams we can. Burlington along with Wheaton St. Francis are the best 2A teams we have played. I expect both will make a long run in the postseason in their class."
The Rockets had two excellent chances to score in the last 15 minutes to tie the game.
Zoey Kollhoff blasted a shot on goal from 20 yards out but Avery made the diving save. With 8:36 left Kyla Butler tried to score in front of the net but Avery leapt high to push the ball over the net.
Central goalie Erin Rafferty kept the Rockets in the game with 9 saves.