Boys soccer: Downers North blanks Downers South
Trygve Hansen made good use of his time as he waited for his senior season to begin.
The Downers Grove North striker spent countless hours lifting weights at the Downers Grove Park District Recreation Center, preparing his body for the rigors of high school soccer and eventually a college career.
That work is paying off. The extra muscle, combined with his natural speed and ability, has turned Hansen into a difference maker.
Hansen has bagged 4 goals in his first three games, including a pair in Saturday's 3-0 road win over crosstown rival Downers Grove South.
"I'd say I'm a lot stronger," Hansen said. "I feel like that's an important aspect, especially for high school, to get stronger because it's a lot more physical game in high school than in club."
Hansen played attacking midfielder during his junior season, which ended 17 months ago. But the addition of senior midfielder Ben Schaub, who played exclusively club soccer the past three years, has allowed Downers North coach Mike Schmitt to slot Hansen higher up the field to take advantage of his burgeoning skill set.
"He was a center mid for us last year, but this year we're reflecting him between a couple different spots just to get him more up the field and involved in the attack a little bit more," Schmitt said. "We're trying to find space for him to operate."
Hansen doesn't need much space to operate and the added strength has allowed him to fend off aggressive defenders. He demonstrated that ability just 79 seconds into the second half when he gave the Trojans (2-0-1) a 1-0 lead.
Taking advantage of some tentative play off a Downers South throw-in, Hansen stole the ball, raced into the box and slotted a shot inside the left post.
"I thought I'd press (the defender) so I won the ball," Hansen said. "I saw a defender was going to reach out with his foot so I needed to go back post, through his legs, and it went in."
The play happened fast and quickly turned the momentum squarely in North's favor. Though the Mustangs (2-2) stayed in the game by playing tough defense, they could never get anything going offensively, and it was just a matter of time before the Trojans broke through.
That happened with 9:35 remaining and again it was Hansen with a highlight-reel play. He took a long lead pass from senior midfielder Lucas Turk and ripped an 18-yard shot from the top left corner of the box into the upper right corner of the South net to make it 2-0.
"Me and him, we've had a pretty good bond because we've been playing since we're like 7 years old," Turk said. "So whenever I pick up my head, he knows to make the run. We've had a good link for as long as I can remember."
Schaub put the finishing touches on North's win when she scored from top of the box after working a neat give-and-go with Franklin Griffin with 1:39 to go. A win over their rival will probably be the highlight of the pandemic-shortened season.
"We were up 3-0 last year [in a 3-3 tie with South]," Hansen noted. "It was awesome to get revenge."
While there will be no state tournament this season, the Trojans still have a West Suburban Conference Silver Division title to shoot for, and players like Hansen will give them a good shot. He has yet to commit to a college, though he is strongly considering Wisconsin and Colorado School of Mines.
"He's a very talented player," Schmitt said. "His pace and touch is second-to-none.
"He's got such an explosive first step and he can create separation so fast. He's a really special player and we're lucky to have him this season."