Girls soccer: St. Charles North curls past Batavia for victory

An Olimpico goal may be one of the rarest things to happen in a soccer game, let alone a high school girls soccer game.

But that didn’t stop St. Charles North’s Kaitlin Glenn on Thursday.

The junior sent a corner kick from the left side of the south-side goal into the box, where Keira Kelly got in front of Batavia goalie Reagan Sulaver, which made her miss the ball as it found the right side of the net.

“It always feels good to have a goal off a corner and watching the ball curve in,” Glenn said. “But it wouldn’t have been possible without Kelly getting in front of the keeper and causing her to make a mistake, and that’s what we capitalize on.”

Glenn added an assist in the second half and helped lead the North Stars to a 2-1 victory over the Bulldogs for their first DuKane Conference win of the season.

“The first conference win always feels good,” St. Charles North coach Brian Harks said. “It’s never easy to get a conference win in the DuKane, that’s for sure.”

The North Stars (6-0-3, 1-0-1) kept the pressure on the Bulldogs’ defense throughout the majority of the first half, with most of it being played in Batavia territory. Harks said he felt throughout the entirety of the game, the North Stars did well in managing the field and pace of play.

“I thought our backline did a good job just being in control and being super disciplined,” Harks said. “And I felt that our frontline did a nice job in finding the back of the net when needed.”

Laney Stark added an insurance goal for the North Stars just 2:36 into the second half. The Wisconsin-Green Bay commit found a line down the center of the field, and a well-placed through ball from Glenn left her 1-on-1 with Sulaver, who couldn’t get a hand on the shot as it found its way to the right-side of the net to make it 2-0.

Despite St. Charles North controlling the ball on Batavia’s side of the field for a majority of the game, Sulaver’s efforts in net kept the Bulldogs in the game for the entire contest thanks to some great saves. The junior managed five saves throughout the first half and added one more in the second half.

“Sometimes as a goalie you have got to have a short memory,” Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. “After giving up the goal she bounced back and made some saves. I thought her distribution was pretty good, but I wish we could have gotten on the end of those.”

The Bulldogs (5-4, 1-1) staged a late-game comeback with 15:18 left on the clock. Senior Addison Lowe took a deflected cross from junior Alexa Schorr and blasted the ball into the bottom-left corner of the goal to pull within one. However, the Bulldogs couldn’t find the equalizer in the final minutes.

Despite the loss Gianfrancesco said he felt his team stayed organized and together throughout the entire game, responded well after the goals, especially in the second half, but just needed to capitalize on more opportunities.

“When you’re down, it’s easy just to give up, and I don’t think we gave up, we stayed with it, and we want to continue doing that,” Gianfrancesco said. “We had some things that we did well, but yet things we need to work on moving forward.”

Batavia will have a chance to bounce back when it goes back on the road to face West Chicago at 2 p.m. Saturday, while St. Charles North will look to keep its unbeaten streak alive when it faces Neuqua Valley at noon Saturday at home.

Glenn said the win will hopefully give the team more confidence and more drive heading into the future.

“We need to realize that anything is possible and that’ll help us win conference games and possibly further than that,” she said.

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