Girls soccer: Schraeder’s late goal keeps Kaneland’s unbeaten streak vs. Sycamore alive

Kaneland’s offense struggled all day against the Sycamore defense in their Interstate 8 battle on Wednesday.

But with less than 10 minutes less, Kyra Lilly’s free kick found Jade Schrader, who punched it home for the only goal of the game in the Knights’ 1-0 win.

“I think it was a little bit of persistence,” Schrader said. “I would say it wasn’t our best game this season but we stuck through it and got the win.”

The win was the fourth in the last five games Knights (6-3, 4-0 conference) and the third loss in the last four games for the Spartans (6-6, 5-1).

For most of the game it looked like a matter of time before the Spartans would connect. But the Knights found their offense in the 63rd and started attacking more, holding the ball in Sycamore territory.

In the 71st minute, Lilly’s free kick - from the right side on what was essentially a corner kick - found its way across the field to Schrader, who got it past goalie Tayla Brannstrom.

“I saw the ball coming in and I was really excited because I knew it was coming through,” Schrader said. “I asked to go in for once, which I hadn’t done all game, then it just went straight to my feet and into the goal.”

The Spartans missed a 2-0 lead at the intermission by a matter of inches. In the 10th minute, Jaycie Funderburg played a beautiful through ball on the ground to find Peyton Wright, who immediately passed it off to Cortni Kurizenga in front of the goal.

Goalie Natalie Myers was still not in position, but Kurizenga’s open look rocketed off the crossbar and was cleared by the Kaneland defense.

“We told them [at halftime] we’re lucky,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. “They had some great scoring opportunities, they hit the post, it’s because we’re not talking, we’re not striking the ball well, we’re not passing the ball well. We’re not doing everything we know we should be doing.”

In the 35th minute, Jordan Tilstra came racing up the right side and weaved her way through the Kaneland defense, She got a good look past Myers but the shot just went too far to the left.

“She did a fabulous job for us on the right side,” Sycamore coach Kevin Bickley said. “It was one of her better games. We’re been really pushing her to use her speed, get down the line. The last few years a lot of times she’s putting those balls behind the goal. We’ve been really working with her to turn her hips and get the ball in front of the goalkeeper. She’s been doing a great job for us and I think tonight was one of her better games.”

Kaneland remained unbeaten in its last six games against the Spartans. Sycamore last beat Kaneland in 2019, although the team played to a scoreless tie in 2022.

“Up until the last few minutes of the game I wasn’t sure how the game was going to end up going,” Schrader said. “I was really stoked we pulled out the win on that. I don’t know what we would have done. We’ve beat them probably three or four years in a row now. It’s nice to keep that streak going.”

Even with the loss, Bickley said he felt his team played very well and is looking forward to the rematch on May 6 in Kaneland.

On the flip side Parillo said it was not his team’s best effort. But he’s still proud they were able to walk away with the win.

“Our touch was off, our passing was off, even just striking the ball, we didn’t strike the ball even very well,” Parillo said. “Even without us playing our best, the fact we were able to win the game makes us feel good. This is a big rivalry and these are always tough matches that can go either way. To come away with the win makes me feel good.”

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