Girls soccer: Hennelly's 2 goals lift Downers North past York

 
 
Updated 6/2/2021 9:28 PM

Downers Grove North junior Kendall Hennelly is getting comfortable at her new position.

That's good news for the Trojans' playoff chances.

 

After playing center midfielder for most of the regular season, Hennelly was shifted to the forward spot by Downers Grove North coach Brian Papa.

Hennelly's performance on the pitch is showing that it was a smart move. She scored two goals to lead the Trojans to a 2-1 win over York in a Class 3A regional semifinal game on Wednesday night at Carstens Field.

The Trojans (11-4) will host Young, a 2-0 winner over Oak Park-River Forest, on Friday.

"I just got moved to forward about three or five games ago, and that's when I started scoring goals," Hennelly said. "Initially, I was kind of upset transitioning to forward because I liked the my position, just controlling the field and everything. Once I started scoring goals, I started loving it.

"Coach (Papa) said he wanted more speed and intensity, so I try and bring it. I really love it and think I'm making more of an impact at forward."

Hennelly scored both of her goals in the first 15 minutes, capped off by a penalty kick netter for a 2-0 lead.

"I came to the ball and turning and tried to weave through and the goal came out and I went left corner," Hennelly said of her first goal.

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The Dukes (3-11-1) tied the Trojans 1-1 in their first meeting on May 6, but suffered a 4-0 loss on May 15. York scored its lone goal Wednesday in the 68th minute on Emerson Dondlinger's header off a corner kick. The Dukes had two more chances in the final nine minutes but Ava Hansman's free kick went directly to Downers Grove North's goalie Blythe Braun, who had seven saves. In the 78th minute, York senior captain Maddie Jeffery hit a shot right to Braun for an easy save.

"I'm proud of all the girls, especially the seniors," York coach Stevan Dobric said. "They did a great job, and they all left it on the field. My four seniors -- Danielle Stockwell, Maya Rebic, Clare Mathews and Maddie Jeffery -- played great. They worked hard and did a great job leading a young group of 11 underclassmen and doing a great job of mentoring them and showing them what it means to a varsity soccer player and building our program for the future. All four of them will be greatly missed."

The Trojans advance to host Young in a battle of teams from different conferences.

"The first (playoff) game is always the hardest," Papa said. "The girls played hard and controlled 90 percent of the game, but soccer is a weird game. We had two breakdowns in the back. Kendall played great. We controlled the ball and did the right things. We had (York) in the first half. We'll have our hands full in the next match."

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