Girls soccer: Stevenson powers up, shuts down Hersey
Stevenson produced a performance of full attacking power on Friday night to overwhelm visiting Hersey 4-0 in a nonconference girls soccer game in Lincolnshire.
The Patriots (3-1-0) struck twice on either side of the half. Krissy Hill had the game-winner at 11 minutes, and Katie Sakshaug doubled the advantage for coach PepeJon Chavez, who liked what he saw from his club at times but knows there's plenty of room for improvement ahead.
"We brought eight freshmen with us this spring, to go along with nine seniors, so there's a learning curve for this team that we'll have to go through in order to get to were we want to be in a couple of weeks," said Chavez, in his first year as head coach.
The Huskies (0-5-0) were caught in the Patriots' possession game for most of the evening, which was led by junior Hannah Lapeire. She ran the show from the midfield, bringing her teamates into the attack with quality distribution.
"Hannah is one of those players that can do a lot of very good things, and you saw that tonight," said Chavez. "The only thing she wasn't able to do was put one into the back of the net."
Hersey, which is built for the future with five freshmen and three sophomores in the starting lineup, defended with all its might from the opening whistle. But the Huskies found themselves positioned deeper and deeper as the match wore on in order to keep the Patriots' attack in check.
"We're in a real learning curve with this team, which is going to go through growing pains here in the first month or so," said assistant coach Mike Rusniak, standing in for head coach Darren Llewellyn. "But I can tell you, each time out, regardless of the result, there's been improvement in all areas of our game."
Rusniak was recently named as Llewellyn's successor after the longtime head coach retires from teaching and coaching following this school year.
Huskies keeper Emma Hager was strong through this frigid evening, taking a handful of goals out of the back of the net to help keep the visitors within striking distance. The sophomore was at her best on a late reaction save on Brianna VanZanten at 18 minutes, and again just after the intermission, when Hager went post to post to stop an attempt from Sakshaug.
Lapeire and Hill provided the inspiration on the Patriots' third goal of the evening, this one from Nina Kalou in the 49th minute, just moments after Hersey's Krista Thuer nearly found Chloe Sena at the back post.
The one-way traffic generated by the Stevenson attack ended with Ana Koruna adding to the scoreline at 60 minutes.
"There's still a lot of work to be done with our team, but I've seen a lot of progress from all of us since the start of the season," said senior Lauren Micek, one of four captains for the Patriots.
"We're going to have a tough road ahead of us in two weeks," said Chavez, "and we'll be tested in all our games at the North Shore Invite. But I truly believe this team will rise up to the challenge there."
Hersey, which had conceded just 6 goals in its four previous games, will be off until traveling to Schaumburg on Monday, April 2 for its Mid-Suburban League opener.
"This is a great team to be a part of because they work hard, have done well learning a couple of different styles of play, and have a lot of fun doing it all," said Rusniak. "I am thrilled to be a part of this program as Darren's assistant this year, and the head coach next spring."