Girls soccer: Wauconda's improvement continues with shutout of Round Lake
It's been a totally different start to the girls soccer season for Wauconda. The Bulldogs have a totally different team than they would've had in 2020, with a good shot at returning to state.
Just two years removed from a runner-up finish in Class 2A and 66 seconds away from winning the state championship, the Bulldogs continued to improve on Tuesday, picking up another victory with a 5-0 shutout over host Round Lake in a Northern Lake County Conference match.
The Bulldogs (4-5-1, 2-0) are 3-0-1 over their last four matches.
Belle Johnson and Katie Karecki each scored a pair of goals in Tuesday's win, with Kenna Wisniewski adding the other one.
"It was nice to come back and it was brutal to miss everything," Johnson said of COVID-19 canceling the 2020 season.
"Having the whole season off hurt. This group of freshmen and now sophomores have picked things up in huge roles.
"We had a huge upset and we played as hard as we could. We held out to be done there. We kept saying last year was the year to win it. Unfortunately, we didn't have last year's season. We learned to move on."
Johnson, now a junior, has become one of the leaders for Wauconda with 5 goals.
"We do have a whole new group," Johnson said. "We do look good and have come together. The first few games were rough against some tough teams and that's where I think it's helped us."
Wauconda scored 4 times in the first half and added another in the second half.
"We've gone against some big schools," said Wauconda coach Beau Shogren, whose team had a scoreless draw recently with Stevenson.
"We feel much better now with the way we're scoring goals and attacking. It's been the emphasis over the last couple of games. We had to get forwards to score. We do feel good about our defense and our organization, while keeping other teams out of the goal. Now, it's a matter of making it pay off at the other end by scoring goals."
Round Lake (6-2, 0-2) had a difficult time holding back Wauconda, but still played a strong match.
"We did struggle in the first half," Round Lake coach Josue Jimenez said. "We just couldn't get the momentum going. We weren't playing our ball with the possession. We felt a little overwhelmed in the back. (Wauconda) was a strong team, physical team, and a fast team. They definitely got us out of our comfort zone. I thought we did a better job possessing the ball and had a couple of opportunities."