Girls soccer: Geneva, St. Charles North battle to scoreless draw
The much-anticipated Upstate Eight River conference clash between St. Charles North and Geneva lived up to its billing.
Playing in rainy, windy and frigid conditions in Geneva, neither team was able to find the net and were forced to settle for a scoreless draw.
"I'm honestly happy with our performance," North Stars junior midfielder Hailey Rydberg said. "I think we had the majority of the possession and had a lot of opportunities in the final third, but we just couldn't finish."
One of those chances came from C.C. Wahlberg in the 72nd minute but Geneva goalie Emma Harkleroad snatched it for one of her 12 saves.
"It's a little frustrating because I think we outplayed them," Rydberg said. "We had more chances on goal but it came down to finishing and keeping our composure. We'll take this though. It was a good physical battle and we'll keep going forward."
St. Charles North (12-0-3, 3-0-1) was coming off a busy weekend, playing for the fourth time in five days after playing in a tournament in Iowa.
"Geneva is tough and their back line played well," North Stars coach Brian Harks said. "Playing Geneva at Geneva is never easy. We just have to go back and regroup and figure it out for later in the season."
The North Stars created more chances than the Vikings, but fell short of finishing, although Harkleroad made some nice saves to deny the visitors from jumping ahead.
"We created some opportunities but obviously you have to tip your cap to the Geneva keeper," Harks said. "She made some nice saves and it was hard to get it past her."
Geneva (14-1-1, 2-0-1), which lost for the first time last Thursday to New Trier in the Naperville Invite, nearly took the lead after Stephanie Howe broke free, but St. Charles North keeper Sami Sample corralled her shot.
"I thought we had one, but their keeper came up with a nice save," Vikings coach Megan Owens said. "It just goes to show you how solid the Tri-Cities are this year. All four teams are phenomenal."
The conditions made things difficult for the teams to perform at their best.
"Both teams battled hard, but the conditions, with the rain, the wind and being slippery, I think that was better for their style of play than ours, but we fought hard," Owens said. "Our defense played well, but we couldn't find their forwards at times which was tough."
The Vikings seemingly played better as the game improved, creating more scoring threats.
"The conditions made it tough to get a good touch and stuff like that, but we made some adjustments and in the final 15 minutes we created a lot more," Owens said. "They're a great team. It was just a battle of two really solid teams and we look forward to seeing them again in the playoffs with hopefully warmer and drier conditions."
The teams could meet again on May 26 in the Class 3A Hoffman Estates sectional championship.