Girls soccer: St. Charles East strikes often vs. Jacobs
Taking more risks going forward, St. Charles East is lighting up scoreboards this spring with a potent scoring attack that showed no signs of slowing down during Monday's matinee at home against Jacobs.
Elle McCaslin, Jamie McDermott, Hannah Miller and Kayla Villa each had two goals and Renee Unterberg also scored as the Saints buried the Golden Eagles early and cruised to a 9-0 nonconference victory.
"Our front three have been pretty good and Hannah Miller has adjusted from outside back for us," Saints coach Vince DiNuzzo said. "We have seven sophomores and a lot of them came back with varsity experience so we returned a good core and added pieces like Elle (McCaslin) and Christina Hull in the midfield with Jenna Sitta. We're just getting more consistency up top and creating chances, which is great."
McCaslin delivered the first of an afternoon filled with big finishes when she scored in the 8th minute from Alondra Carranza.
"I noticed that the back line played really high so I was waiting for the ball to go over the top," McCaslin said. "Emma (Blankenship) switched up top and just ran and let it go over the top and the goalie kind of turned around and went back to the goal, but as she came out I flipped it to the back post."
At this time last year, McCaslin was living in Michigan. After relocating to St. Charles in August, and immediately starting school, McCaslin soon made friends and teammates as she earned a spot on the basketball team in the winter. Her addition to the soccer team has been quite seamless.
"Being new to the school and the team, we're still figuring out how to play with each other," she said. "Team bonding is big. Just this morning we did Feed My Starving Children, so we're just a close group of friends."
And they're a group that is unselfish with the ball as Alondra Carranza, Bailey King, Megan Stout, McCaslin, Blankenship, Miller and Villa all contributed assists.
"I think everything is kind of coming together with our offense," McDermott said. "We finally have a lot of power through the top and a lot of speed, and we're finally figuring our how to get our runs in and connect really well, so I think it's really coming together nicely now."
St. Charles East (4-1) has scored 23 goals during its four-game winning streak as the Saints enjoyed their biggest victory since defeating Addison Trail 11-0 in a 2016 regional game.
"We're trying to make the most of these chances that we get," McDermott said. "Once we get to the big games we'll see those pay off."
Before the game was 10 minutes old, Jacobs (1-3-1) was already down 2-0. The Golden Eagles were down 3-0 midway through the first half and the Saints added three more goals before halftime.
While the ball was on one side of the field for most of the entire half, the Golden Eagles nearly broke the shutout in the final minute of the half as senior forward Baylee Vincent delivered a header off a corner kick, but her attempt was quickly confiscated by Saints goalkeeper Grace Griffin.
"Once they got the first goal they kept coming," Jacobs coach Stephanie Schuck said. "It was hard, obviously, but we kept telling the girls that these are the kinds of teams that are strong and you can't take away anything from. They're fast, they know how to get the job done and how to finish, and one of the things we've been struggling with this year is finding the back of the net."
Being without talented goalkeeper Lindsey Cepa didn't help matters, but thankfully she'll be back soon.
"Our biggest take-away is we're keeping it positive," Schuck said. "It's still the beginning of the season and we're playing strong teams. That's the only way we can get better and I think a lot of the girls are hoping to do better in conference than we've done in the last couple years."