Girls soccer: Kaneland blanks Sycamore, stays perfect in conference
Kaneland coach Scott Parillo stressed at halftime the importance of the Knights connecting in a scoreless game against Sycamore Wednesday.
Brigid Gannon said she got the message and obliged her coach, scoring on an assist from Audrey Salamon in the 43rd minute in a 2-0 win over the Spartans.
"We knew -- we came to the bench and he was like we need to win this game, and we need to get a goal," Gannon said. "I went out there with that mindset and knew we just had to connect the ball up and down the field and get out there and score. And we did."
Salamon played a cross up that Sycamore goalie Lilly Horne ended up making a play on, but it rolled away to her left. Gannon chased it down and knocked it in.
Later in the half, Gannon chased a shot and challenged Horne for possession. She did end up knocking it in after it got away from Horne, but the ref ruled Horne had possession and waved off the goal.
"I'm really good at crashing the goalie," Gannon said. "Like my team said, I did it a second time but they didn't count it. But I have allergies, too, and I was fighting the whole time. I just played off the goalie and cut it back right into the corner."
In the 58th minute, Salamon hit Gannon on a perfect cross from the left side, and she knocked it in behind Horne for a 2-0 lead.
"That was all her," Gannon said. "I can't even stress how important that ball was. If it was a step further ahead of me or further in front of me I wouldn't have gotten it. I was just in the right place at the right time for her to just send it in."
Parillo said scoring first was pivotal for the Knights (9-4, 5-0 Interstate 8) against Sycamore (4-6, 2-1).
"It takes a little bit of pressure off you," Parillo said. "The girls feel the pressure, the coaching staff feels the pressure. If we can start getting some of these games put away, that's the best thing. I thought in the second half we came out and we played, and we played hard. And that's what it takes."
Sycamore coach Kevin Bickley said it changed the momentum of the game.
"We knew Kaneland was going to be strong," Bickley said. "They're always a strong team. They're very experienced. You could definitely see that composure. We knew 0-0 at the half, we talked at halftime the first goal was going to be big either way. Them getting that early goal changed momentum a little bit."
Horne had a big game in the net, facing an onslaught of attacks from the Knights. She finished with seven saves. Less than five minutes after Gannon's goal, Salamon let a shot rip into the top right corner, but a diving Horne deflected it away.
Less than a minute later Sabrina Moses was turned away on a one-timer from about 35 yards that Horne had to leap to corral.
"There were three or four saves that we kind of joke about, that's what she gets paid to do," Bickley said. "Those are the things we expect her to do. Those hard saves she makes look easy."