St. Viator edges Vernon Hills to stay unbeaten

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/25/2015 9:50 PM

St. Viator's girls soccer team defeated visiting Vernon Hills 1-0 on the turf of Morris Field on a frigid day Wednesday in Arlington Heights, in what may be a precursor of a more important meeting later in the season.

The two sides will now take a well deserved break from soccer after a busy first week of the regular season. During it, the Lions went 4-0-0, while the Cougars split four matches, beating Deerfield and Lake Park in between losses to Buffalo Grove and St. Viator.

 

"We always hope to see Mike (Taylor) in May," said a upbeat Vernon Hills coach Vince Deluca, whose club was eliminated by the Lions 2-1 in a regional final last year. "I thought we played them pretty well today -- they are very well organized in the back and didn't really allow Kristen (Guglielmi) too many good chances. But overall, it was a good game for us, and except for the loss, it was a solid effort to help send us into our spring break."

Deluca said he'd give his players a few days off for general recovery, while hoping to get a few sick and injured players more time to get fit.

The Lions have impressed in every outing so far, finding the back of the net 18 times in their first three outings before Wednesday's nonconference victory.

"It wasn't our best of the season," said St. Viator coach Mike Taylor. "Sure, we had our moments here and there and did a few good things, but we gave the ball away too much, weren't very sharp with our possession, and we're still looking for our veterans to show the type of leadership we need, especially with so many freshmen and sophomores on this roster."

The hosts side enjoyed the run of the play during the early stages as they played through the middle with Molly Murphy and Brinley McVeigh having most of the touches. The Lions' back line did well to initiate the attack with some sharp passes ahead to their midfielders.

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"Our attack is much more dynamic than last year, and we get along as a team better as well -- we could have been better connecting with each other today, but I know we'll get better as we continue to play and get more game together," said Murphy, a senior who, along with Lauren Kohn and Susie Moynihan, wore the captain's armbands for Taylor on Wednesday.

One of the newcomers Taylor and his staff is counting on this season, sophomore Felicia Moncada, scored the game-winner after Murphy would send a wonderful crossfield ball to the back post. It spilled free and to the right of keeper Sydney Resnick, who could do nothing about Moncada's short drive from in close.

Just before the 22nd-minute goal, Cougars junior Erin VanDemerkt smartly tracked back to tackle Moynihan inside the box to clear potential trouble after St. Viator had pried open Vernon Hills in its own end.

Guglielmi turned in a quality 80 minutes up top for Deluca. Some clever work with and without the ball turned into a couple of chances, forcing Anna Johnston to save a strike at 18 minutes. But that was the only time the freshmen keeper was called upon during the first half.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The first quarter-hour of the second period was played almost entirely in the Cougars' end, owing to several corners and deep throws by the Lions. But the Vernon Hills trio of Ashley Favia, Amy Andrea, Monica Bahlmann and VanDemerkt didn't allow anything dangerous on frame.

"We played some people where they normally aren't, and also gave some time to others who haven't played very much, so all of them were able to get some much-needed experience, which I know will help in the long run," said Deluca.

Guglielmi managed to have a go at Johnston in the 68th minute, but even with the help of Kaitlin Gramins and others the Cougars were unable to solve the Lions as they searched for the equalizer during the final quarter-hour.

"I really feel one of our biggest strengths this season will be along the back, and as long as we can possess and score some goals, we should be a very good team this season," said Murphy.

Kayne Stanley, Maggie Leazer, Maureen McGrath and Emma Henry were solid along the back in front of Johnson, who recorded her second shutout of the season.

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