Girls soccer: Stevenson eager for upcoming NSC test

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/7/2016 8:27 PM

Stevenson's girls soccer team is focused on what's still ahead.

The Patriots (8-6-1) are the North Suburban Lake champions and will be taking on Prairie winner Wauconda (12-1-2) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday for the overall conference championship.

 

In any case, looking forward is probably a better option than spending too much time poring over Saturday's 6-0 loss to Loyola Academy in Glenview on Saturday afternoon.

"We did get a learning experience for the younger players," Stevenson coach Kevin Heffernan said. "We were resting players, because the conference championship is too big to see players get hurt.

"The girls are excited about it, and we haven't been in the game for quite a while. They have some history to make. I thought we had a nice run in the division this year."

The Patriots had a slow start this season, but recently have been led by a defense that's been very stingy.

"The defense has come along really well," Heffernan said. "They jelled -- the communication is excellent, their composure on the field is excellent. We're starting to hit targets out of the back instead of clearing the ball up the field. They're playing well on both sides of the ball, overlapping and getting involved in the offense. When you get numbers up the field, it's hard to defend."

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Stevenson knows that the NSC title game will be a competitive test.

"(Wauconda) has some really nice players," Heffernan said. "Their defense is solid and it will be a challenge for us. That's what you expect in a championship game."

On Saturday, Stevenson had its starters in the game for the first about 28 minutes, during which the Patriots were going against the wind. The game was actually scoreless through that period of time.

With the extremely windy conditions, it was hard for players to control the ball at all.

"It was really difficult with the wind and you had to judge it right," said Mackenzie Connington, who plays in the Patriots' midfield. "You want to judge it correctly and get the right touch. You want to get it down and settle it. Just keep the ball on the ground if you can."

Loyola Academy (16-3-4) scored three times in a four-minute span. Devin Burns, who had a hat trick and assisted on another, scored the first one in the 29th minute. Burns assisted on the second goal 30 seconds later, scored by Stephanie Ramsey. Burns made it 3-0 a couple minutes later by netting a penalty kick.

Burns had her third goal in the 47th minute. KK Phelan and Kayleigh Purcell had the others for Loyola.

"I thought (Stevenson) played well and countered well," Loyola Academy coach Craig Snower said.

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