Girls soccer: Geneva falls in finale of Plainfield Classic

Plainfield North sophomore forward Katelyn Haiser was forced to work on her secondary shooting leg for the early part of this season.

After the Tigers broke 12 program records and won 23 games last season, Haiser was slated to become a key scoring option following the graduation of 15 players. But Haiser suffered an injury on her main shooting leg that forced her to open the season by attempting shots via her left leg.

Unfortunately for Geneva, Haiser is back to full strength in her right leg.

Haiser sliced open a scoreless game by scoring back-to-back goals in just over two minutes late in the second half to propel Plainfield North to a 3-0 victory over Geneva in the Plainfield Classic championship game on a sun-splashed late Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers (10-2-1) avenged last season’s title game defeat by penalty kicks to Geneva. Two years ago, the Tigers also beat the Vikings (7-3) in the championship game of the Plainfield Classic.

“It was the first time (today) shooting with my right foot since I hurt my knee,” Haiser said. “It felt great to use my right foot. I was hurt for six weeks. I switched to my left.”

Before her two goals, Haiser was applying a lot of pressure to Geneva’s backline and goalie, Jordan Forbes.

“That felt really good to get the first one because I had a lot of chances and was getting double-teamed and it was frustrating in the first half with the wind,” Haiser said.

Haiser thrilled the large mostly pro-Tigers crowd with her first goal, but she provided an even bigger highlight on her second netter. Haiser dribbled along the far sidelines, cutting into the field, then put the ball between the legs of a Geneva defender and slotted in a shot from 16 yards into the far post in the 72nd minute.

“The girl gave me space and I turned and shot it,” Haiser said of her second goal. “That goal was pretty satisfying.”

The Tigers were on the brink of scoring a goal thanks to several chances in the second half, mainly by Haiser in a nine-minute span before her first goal in the 70th minute. The Vikings allowed another goal when Plainfield North freshman Ilyanna Barriball nailed in a bouncing shot in the 76th minute to seal the victory for the Tigers.

Plainfield North coach Katie Monterosso said her team finally broke the ice in the final 10 minutes to avoid another penalty kick showdown with the Vikings.

“We talked about remembering last year and that we had to take care of the game in the first 80 minutes,” she said. “Geneva is a great team. We won two years ago in the (title game), and that was also a very tight game where we scored the winning goal late.”

Geneva failed to take advantage of the strong wind in the first half, and despite allowing three late goals, the Vikings’ backline did a stellar job holding the Tigers’ scoring attack without a goal for the first 70 minutes.

Geneva coach Megan Owens heaped praise on her team, especially the backline, for their stellar play but noted the late-game collapse.

“We allowed three goals in the last 10 minutes, so it’s mental,” Owens said. “We dominated long stretches of the game. We just checked out in the end. That’s high school soccer. You have to put a complete game together for the full 80 minutes. We have the talent. We have to create and finish shots and stay mentally in the game.”

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