Geneva comes back against Glenbard East
How worried was Geneva after Glenbard East scored five minutes into Tuesday's Class 3A Lake Park regional semifinal?
"We were all just panicked because that was not the way we wanted to start our postseason, and we were all just all over the place," Geneva junior defender Caitrin Griffin said. "It was a big mess in the back, and all the forwards on the other team were just open and taking shots. We were really freaked out."
The young Vikings overcame their initial panic to make the game look easy, taking a 5-1 victory in Roselle. They will play host Lake Park at 6 p.m. Friday in the regional final.
"That's fantastic," said Griffin, who plays beside three freshmen on the back line. "We're happy to get anywhere. We weren't expecting much with the team we have this year. To come this far and be as successful as we are is a pleasant surprise, and we're just hoping to take it as far as we can."
Going into a stiff wind coming over the north goal, Glenbard East (10-9-3), the No. 13 seed, stunned No. 4 Geneva with senior Jordyn Hargreaves' goal in the fifth minute.
"We'd seen them play a couple of times and we knew that we've got some speed on the outside of our midfield and that can be open against them," Rams coach Kent Overbey said. "Alex Ruffer, our freshman, made a great play to Jordyn Hargreaves, and Jordyn turned on the defender and hit a great shot. We thought we were off to a great start, especially going into the wind. Unfortunately, our Achilles' heel all year has been winning balls in the air, and we didn't win any today."
"That really woke us up, got us going," Griffin said. "We did not want another one of that. ... To have been scored on in the first few minutes of our first playoff game was a wakeup call for us that we were going to have to play hard."
The rest of the game was all Geneva. The Vikings finished with a 30-3 edge in shots and dominated possession, with and without the wind.
The Vikings (12-4-4) tied the game in the 19th minute when freshman defender Annie Waldoch drove a ball from just a few yards outside the right corner of the Rams penalty area just under the crossbar. They took the lead for good in the 30th when Griffin's corner kick met junior Rachel Hinchman's head and then the back of the net for a 2-1 halftime lead.
With the wind against it in the second half, Geneva did even better than it had in the first half.
"We were a little bit worried about the wind because it played such an advantage for us to be able to clear it out every time," Griffin said. "But we decided at halftime that we were going to try to play it low, play it beneath the wind, try to control it a little bit more."
Junior Kristin Rodriguez made it 3-1 with a header off a Molly Axen cross in the 42nd minute. In the 49th Catherine Allon scored on a back-to-the goal header from a Griffin free kick. And in the 54th Amanda Lulek finished off a rebound from a Kailey Rote shot.
"We had a very strong second half," Geneva coach Megan Owens said. "I think we showed the team we are in the second half. We started off a little slow in the first half, but it's not always how you start a game, it's how you finish a game. We had a lot of opportunities and a lot of kids contributed on offense today."