Girls soccer: Hadzic scores twice, leads WW South over Batavia
Melisa Hadzic was feeling a bit frustrated in the early going this season as the goal scoring just wasn't coming along the way she wanted.
The Wheaton Warrenville South senior midfielder more than made up for those frustrations Thursday, putting her first two goals of the season in the back of the net to help pace the Tigers to a 4-1 victory over Batavia on Thursday.
"[In previous games I] just didn't get it on net," Hadzic said. "I had that breakaway [for] the first one. In my head, I'm like: 'OK, don't hit the goalie; don't hit the goalie -- hit the back of the net. That ended up happening so it was a really exciting feeling."
"I feel like for me, individually [improvement this season] it's kind of gaining more confidence. I think the confidence thing is why I haven't been scoring goals because I'm always like 'I'm too far out here, maybe I shouldn't shoot.' But, I feel like, me building up my confidence probably is going to [continue to grow]."
Shortly following Hadzic's first goal, Emma Showman found some space and put one home for a 2-0 Tigers' lead. Following a Tigers free kick with 18:10 remaining in the first half, Lauren Barnett snuck an attempt past Batavia goalie Morgan Haug following a rebounded ball off her hands.
Hadzic, a third-year varsity player, later added her second goal with 13:43 left in the first half, as the Tigers took a 4-0 lead into the break.
"Definitely she has the caliber of play and the nuances to contribute daily," Tigers coach Guy Callipari said. "Others have been stepping up and she's found her role in terms of being supportive. Tonight was her night; she got in behind and made a great runs, made a good touch."
"She's starting to feel healthier and you can tell that in her pace. She had some acceleration there and then she was calm under the pressure, so that's what she's gifted in doing," Callipari continued. "That's what you expect out of a senior in a one-on-one situation is to be under control."
Hadzic is going to be vital around the scoring portions of the field for the Tigers (3-3, 3-3) this season.
"She's crafty. She's gifted and it's what you hope with experience," Callipari said. "She understands the game. She has an older brother that played and her dad has been around the game, too. She's learned from them and has a good idea of combination play and what to do in the vital area when the game calls upon her to take control."
Batavia (2-4, 2-2) had some promising developing plays early in the first half, but were unable to complete them. In the second half, junior forward Bella Lins finally broke through for a nifty goal with her left foot on an assist from Ashley Whelpley with 23:11 left in the game.
The Bulldogs had another scoring chance in traffic with 4:43 left, but Tigers defender Elise Farrell cleared it out of harm's way.
"I thought [effort] was good the first half," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "We went on a bad five-minute stretch there that we just compounded giving a goal up and giving another goal; but, I thought we had pretty much the better run of play the first half, too."
"We just didn't turn that into goals, they did," Gianfrancesco continued. "I thought both halves, we connected passes; we were composed. We just didn't finish our chances first half. They did. They went on a five minute stint where they scored three goals. Set plays have been a struggle for us."