Girls soccer: St. Charles East ends St. Charles North's streak
It's been six long years since the St. Charles East girls soccer team has defeated its north side counterparts.
That streak ended Saturday in a 3-0 Saints victory over the North Stars, a stretch not lost on a player like senior Megan Sreniawski, in her first year in the program after playing club previously.
"Coming out for the first game against them, I knew we had to win," said Sreniawski, who scored goals in the 17th and 67th minute to propel St. Charles East. "I know that everyone else on the team has been fighting for years."
Senior Jenna Sitta, who scored in the 25th minute, seconded that thought.
"We grew up watching the Saints as middle schoolers and we haven't won for years," Sitta said, "and I'm just happy to be part of the team that took them down after all these years."
The Saints have been nothing short of a bulldozer this season. They're 8-0-0 and 5-0-0 in the DuKane Conference, and that does not tell the full story of how impressive St. Charles East has been. The Saints have outscored their opponents 48-1, averaging six goals per game.
"I know last season we had three tough games against them and we couldn't come out on top, so it feels super-good that our team was able to come together," said senior Jessica Stepien.
Give St. Charles North credit for holding the Saints in check for most of the second half. With a brisk wind behind them, the North Stars stood up to an offensive onslaught, and clung to a 2-0 deficit. That is, until the 67th minute, when Sreniawski took a pass on the right side, cut back inside, beat a defender and buried her shot into the right corner of the net.
Early in the first half, Sreniawski connected 25 yards out center over the outstretched arms of sophomore St. Charles North goalkeeper Kara Claussner. Claussner finished with nine saves, five in the first half.
"She just keeps getting better every single day," North Stars coach Brian Harks said of Claussner, who made a solid save on a breakaway in the 61st minute by meeting the defender at the top of the box and securing the ball on a slide.
"In the first half, we couldn't get anything, because they were playing solid defense," said North Stars sophomore Bella Najera, who came close to equalizing in the 22nd minute with a shot that narrowly sailed over the crossbar.
St. Charles North (2-3-2, 1-2-1) got close in the 72nd minute, when junior Martina Nava fired a laser beam that ended up in the arms of Saints sophomore goalkeeper Grace Stehman, who played the entire second half and recorded all four of her team's saves.
"It's a weight off our shoulders for sure and I think it's going to be great for the program going forward," St. Charles East coach Vince DiNuzzo said.