Girls soccer: Healy’s goal just ahead of halftime sends Hinsdale Central past Oswego East

Hinsdale Central’s Olivia Healy watched her team weather an early storm, then struck Oswego East with a bolt from the blue.

The junior forward got behind the defense with a perfectly timed run and volleyed a cross from Emily DiTomasso under the crossbar with 15 seconds left in the first half Saturday.

It was the first goal of the season for Healy, and it broke a scoreless tie.

“It was a team effort,” Healy said. “I feel that anyone could have scored that goal, but it took a lot of hard work to get a goal in the first half. It was very challenging.

“Scoring before halftime really brought us the energy to get more goals in the second half and brought up our confidence against a really hard opponent.”

Indeed, Healy’s late strike gave the host Red Devils the momentum, and they never relinquished it. They tacked on three more goals in the second half of an impressive 4-1 victory at Dickinson Field.

“We talk a lot about going all-in at the end of the half and wanting it, because there’s a lot of soccer to be played,” Hinsdale Central coach Tony Madonia said. “She finished her run all the way to the endline and was rewarded by it. That’s exactly what you want as a coach.”

Oswego East knows all about scoring in such a scenario. The Wolves did it against Batavia seven days earlier. Anya Gulbrandsen tallied 4.1 seconds before intermission to break the ice in an eventually 2-0 win.

The Wisconsin-bound Gulbrandsen and San Diego State recruit Riley Gumm both hit the post three minutes apart in the early going and had two other shots sail just over the crossbar. The Wolves (4-3) never recovered after Healy’s goal.

“It’s a hard goal to give up, for sure,” Oswego East goalkeeper Maddie McGregor said. “It definitely killed our momentum.

“It is what it is. We should have kept going, hitting hard.”

But it was the Red Devils (4-1) who did the better job of doing that after intermission. McGregor made six saves, including two terrific diving efforts to tip drives from Piper Bingham and Cate McDonnell around the left post, but after the latter save, Caitlin Doherty scored off ensuing corner kick with a 17-yard shot from the top of the box with 32:12 remaining.

Six minutes later, Claire Snodgrass played a long ball into traffic in the middle of the box, where McDonnell volleyed it past McGregor for a 3-0 lead.

“They shook us in the first half, and we were able to get in the team room, make some adjustments. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t,” Madonia said. “Today they really worked well.

“This is just a really great group of kids. They work hard for each other. They keep it positive, and (assistant) Coach (Michael) Gross and I feel like that really makes a difference. That’s our philosophy.”

Gulbrandsen averted the shutout by scoring off a feed from Catie Sloan with 8:34 to go, but it wasn’t enough for the Wolves. Peyton Rohn capped the win for Hinsdale Central by firing home a 30-yard free kick with 1 second left.

“It was great,” Rohn said. “I’m hoping the energy will carry over to our next game.

“We’ve got more tough opponents ahead, and we’ve just got to keep our teamwork up and be strong.”

Oswego East coach Juan Leal had similar sentiments about his team.

“If we had just capitalized on those first opportunities, it would have been a different game,” Real said. “It would have given us momentum and more confidence. But we’ll come back on Monday and get back at it.”

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