Girls soccer: Roe steps in, steps up, but Wheaton North falls to Lockport in invite final

Wheaton North senior goalie Zoey Bohmer sparked her team to back-to-back Porter Cup Invite championships.

The Loyola recruit played a pivotal role in last season’s Porter Cup semifinal win over Lockport.

So it wasn’t surprising that the Porters weren’t disappointed not to see Bohmer in the net for Thursday’s Porter Cup title game.

With Bohmer sidelined with an injury, the Porters managed to score two early goals to pull out a 2-0 triumph in the championship match.

After winning the Windy City Ram Classic championship earlier this season, Lockport added another title to its increasingly crowded trophy case.

Junior forward Ava Kozak, in her first year in the program, scored the opening goal in the 12th minute from 4 yards away. Freshman forward Yurida Hernandez notched a goal in the 24th minute off an assist from Tiffany Giannese. Lockport goalie Liz Rock had an uneventful day, ending with two saves in 80 minutes.

“We’re happy to get another championship,” Hernandez said. “Everyone played really well. Our chemistry is good, and that helped us win.”

The Porters celebrated the victory by all donning title T-shirts and mugging for pictures, plus doing a few videos.

Kozak, a Marquette recruit, had a goal waved off in the 16th minute after it was ruled her hand touched the ball.

“This win feels amazing,” Kozak said. “We’ve been working really hard for it. We’ve been creating really well and working well together. I think we could’ve finished a couple of more and scored. We were fired up to beat them.”

Lockport (11-0) entered the championship averaging 10 goals per game, but Wheaton North backup goalkeeper Leah Roe did a stellar job keeping the Porters’ high-octane offense in check. Roe finished with 13 saves, including nine in a shot-filled first half. Roe showed a lot of moxie handling the wave of shots toward her, handling all kinds of hard-hit balls and even adding a highlight-reel tap-out save in the first half.

“Leah is a more-than-capable, high-quality goalie,” Wheaton North coach Tim McEvilly said. “She’s going to step in for Zoey next year. I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat.

“In the first 10 or 15 minutes, it was a bit more nerve-wracking for her. Zoey injured herself at the end of practice yesterday, so we didn’t know if she was going to play. Once (Roe) got some of the jitters removed, Leah was more focused on snatching the ball and being successful. She can cover the goal really well. We’re in good hands.

“We just lacked aggressiveness. They’re a strong and physical team. Both of those goals were about physical strength. With a different voice in the back and Zoey gone, our center backs didn’t pick enough of that void as far as being leaders in the first half.”

The Falcons (6-2-1) nearly cut the deficit in half on Jane Rogers’ shot in the 42nd minute, but Rock managed to corral the loose ball. Lockport defender Alyssa Flood had two key headers in a 45-second span in the second half to stop potential scoring threats.

“I thought we played pretty well and kept the ball on the ground in the first half, and we were all over them,” Lockport coach Todd Elkei said. “We could’ve had a couple of more but had a few unlucky ones by hitting the crossbar a couple of times. We moved the ball well. …

“We break the season in parts. We kind of have a redemption tour. We lost to these guys last year, so it was kind of circled on our calendar to take care of some business this year. We’re taking it one game at a time, but we’re having fun.”

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